Far-right politician Javier Milei leads the race for Argentina presidency

Javier Milei, a far-right politician known for his admiration of former US President Donald Trump, has emerged as the front-runner in Argentina’s primary election. The primary, which includes candidates from all parties, is seen as a significant indicator for the upcoming presidential election in October. Milei’s surprising victory, winning 30% of the votes, has sparked a political earthquake in the country.

Argentine media has described Milei’s win as a tsunami, as it exceeded expectations and surpassed more established politicians. The primary in Argentina is unique, as it is open to all eligible voters, and voting is mandatory. The candidate who receives the most votes in the primary is often considered the favorite for the presidential election.

Prior to the primary, opinion polls projected Milei trailing behind the center-left economy minister, Sergio Massa, and conservative candidate Patricia Bullrich. However, Milei’s victory with over 97% of votes counted has reshaped the political landscape. His surge in popularity can be attributed to his anti-establishment views, which resonate with Argentines frustrated with the country’s economic crisis.

Argentina is currently grappling with soaring inflation, with year-on-year inflation surpassing 115%. Approximately one in four Argentines lives in poverty, and the country’s currency, the peso, has significantly depreciated. These issues, coupled with a lack of effective solutions from previous governments, have fueled public anger and dissatisfaction.

Milei’s campaign promises drastic changes, including the abolition of Argentina’s central bank, replacing the peso with the US dollar, and privatizing state-run firms that are operating at a loss. His stance on gun control mirrors that of Brazil’s former far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, advocating for a relaxation of gun control measures.

Furthermore, Milei opposes abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, emphasizing his commitment to protecting children from conception. He has also criticized sex education in schools as a threat to the “traditional family” and denies the existence of climate change.

With his unconventional appearance, provocative demeanor, and explicit attacks on “the left,” Milei has attracted a loyal following. His unexpectedly strong performance in the primary, surpassing predictions by 10 percentage points, is likely to impact the national currency further.

Milei’s success has been received fervently by his supporters, who view his candidacy as a true opposition against the established political elite. He has galvanized a desire for real change among his followers, emphasizing the need for a different Argentina that breaks away from the failures of the past 100 years.

The candidates who came in second and third place, Patricia Bullrich and Sergio Massa, respectively, will now strive to gain momentum leading up to the first round of the presidential election in October. If no candidate secures 45% of the votes or 40% with a 10-percentage-point lead, a second round of voting will be held in November.

Similar trends have been witnessed in other Latin American countries, where anti-establishment candidates have disrupted traditional political dynamics. In Colombia and Chile, independent and far-right candidates experienced initial success but were eventually overtaken by left-wing competitors in the run-offs. In Brazil, supporters of the far-right incumbent refused to accept his defeat and resorted to violent protests.

The close race between the top three candidates in the primaries makes a second round highly probable. Argentina is on track to follow in the footsteps of its regional counterparts, witnessing a shift towards outsider candidates challenging the status quo.

In conclusion, the emergence of far-right politician Javier Milei as the front-runner in Argentina’s primary election has shaken the political landscape. Milei’s victory signals a growing discontent among citizens with the current state of the country, particularly regarding the economic crisis. His unconventional proposals and anti-establishment views have struck a chord with voters, leading to a surge in popularity. The upcoming presidential election will be closely watched, as the outcome will determine the future direction of Argentina.