Government candidate Sergio Massa has admitted defeat in Argentina’s presidential election. “Javier Milei is president,” said the incumbent economy minister on Sunday evening (local time) about his ultra-liberal rival. “I congratulated him because the majority of Argentines voted for him.” After 86 percent of the votes were counted, Milei was 55, 95 percent, well ahead of Massa with 44.04 percent.
The self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” Milei promises a radical turnaround: He wants to introduce the US dollar as legal tender, abolish the central bank and many ministries and cut social spending. Government candidate Massa stood for the previous policy with massive state intervention in the economy and extensive social programs.
South America’s second largest economy is in a deep economic crisis. The inflation rate is over 140 percent, and around 40 percent of people in the once rich country live below the poverty line. Argentina suffers from a bloated state apparatus, low industrial productivity and a large shadow economy that deprives the state of much tax revenue. The national currency, the peso, continues to lose value against the US dollar and the mountain of debt is constantly growing.