Javier Milei—a far-right admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump who says that climate change is a “socialist lie” and who pledged to take a “chainsaw” to social programs—will be Argentina’s next president after winning a decisive victory in Sunday’s runoff.
Sergio Massa, Argentina’s Peronist economy minister, conceded defeat Sunday evening to the 53-year-old Milei, a radical libertarian economist often called the “Trump of Argentina” who will take office amid a looming recession, triple-digit inflation, and a nearly 40% poverty rate in Latin America’s third-largest economy.
Following Massa’s concession speech, Argentinian election officials said that with nearly 87% of votes tallied, Milei had 56% and Massa 44%.
Gone Sunday were the baseless allegations of voter fraud that Milei supporters said cost him the first round of the presidential contest, as well as the chainsaw he often used as a prop to show how he would eviscerate social programs.
“No one so extremist on economic issues has been elected president of a South American country,” economist Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, warned Friday.
In addition to deploring socialism for “stealing the fruits of one person’s labor and giving it to someone else,” Milei has asserted that “all the policies that blame humans for climate change are false” and has called abortion—which has only been legal in Argentina since 2021—”murder.”
Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” libertarian, is also an advocate of same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and drug legalization.
Referring to former center-right Argentinian President Mauricio Macri—a Milei supporter—Weisbrot said that “much of the current crisis in Argentina is a result of what happened during [his] administration, including unsustainable borrowing combined with large-scale capital flight, as well as an inflation-depreciation spiral that takes on a momentum of its own.”
“But a crazed, economically suicidal approach would only make things worse—and as Argentina has experienced, things can get a lot worse,” he added. “Milei displays a callous disregard for most people’s living standards, values, and well-being, as well as a commitment to widely discredited economic policies, that is unprecedented.”
Human rights defenders have also sounded the alarm over Milei and his running mate Victoria Villarruel’s open admiration for Argentina’s former U.S.-backed military dictatorship, whose reign of terror and repression spanned from 1976 to 1983.
Massa unsuccessfully tried to distance himself from intensely unpopular outgoing President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a former president who was convicted last year of fraud.
And so now the next president of Argentina will be a man who wants to legalize the sale of children and human organs, renounce his country’s monetary sovereignty in favor of the U.S. dollar, and says he receives political advice from his dead dog.
“God help us all,” wrote one anti-Trump Republican group on social media.