Far-right Argentine lawmaker Milei Secures surprise win in presidential primary

Buenos Aires, (UNI) A far-right Argentine presidential candidate, libertarian economist Javier Milei, has surprised many by winning the primaries, with his opponents close behind, voting results showed on Monday.

Argentina’s presidential election is scheduled for October 22. The main contenders for the presidency are Sergio Massa, the incumbent economy minister running for the ruling Union for the Homeland party, and opposition politicians including former security minister Patricia Bullrich, Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Larreta and Milei.

After more than 90% of the votes were counted, La Libertad Avanza (LLA) movement leader Milei received 30.38%, followed by Bullrich and Larreta, who represent the Together for Change coalition, who together received 28.23% of the vote. Massa and his colleagues in the ruling party received 27.02% of the votes.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Argentine international analyst Cristian Lamesa said that Milei’s victory was “fascinating.”

An Argentine president-elect will have many problems to deal with. The country is facing a deep economic crisis, with inflation exceeding 50% in the first half of 2023 and expected to exceed 100% by the end of the year. Salaries are lagging far behind skyrocketing prices, with 40% of the population living above the poverty line. In addition, having spent its international reserves, Argentina must pay its multi-billion dollar debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For the past two months, the country has been paying in yuan as part of a swap deal with China.

The economy is not the only area of concern in Argentina. The crime rate in the country reached 63.82 cases per 100,000 people in 2023.

Milei has suggested some radical changes to the country’s problems. For instance, to solve Argentina’s economic problems, he wants to abolish the country’s central bank and replace the national currency with the US dollar. In addition, the candidate plans to carry out extensive privatization of state companies operating in all sectors, including health and education. In the area of security, Milei proposes to lower the possible age of imprisonment and to facilitate the access of citizens to weapons.

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