Libertarian candidate Javier Milei secured victory in the Argentinian presidential election on Sunday, defeating left-leaning economy minister Sergio Massa, according to The Associated Press.

Sergio Massa, Argentina’s Economy Minister, conceded defeat to populist Javier Milei in the highly polarized presidential runoff even before official results were released by the electoral authority, according to the AP. Milei, a right-wing economist, secured 55.95% of the votes with 86.6% counted, while Massa garnered 44.04%. 

Polls – which had shown a close race – tilted in favor of Milei, driven by his campaign tactics, who symbolically used a chainsaw to underscore his commitment to reducing government spending, according to the AP. Milei’s notable policy proposal to adopt the U.S. dollar as Argentina’s official currency, an unprecedented move for a nation of its size, is set to be implemented.

 

Massa, a seasoned politician representing the political establishment, struggled with challenges linked to soaring inflation rates during his tenure, according to the AP. The election outcome demonstrates a shift in Argentina’s political landscape with voters endorsing Milei’s vision for change.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET). Milei’s victory is likely to bring policy changes, including shifts in abortion and climate change stances, according to the AP. Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro endorsed Milei’s candidacy, adding further significance to the election.

Milei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jake Smith on November 19, 2023

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