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Javier Milei, a Far-right Populist, Wins Most Votes in Argentina’s Presidential Primary

Far-right populist Javier Milei has caused a major upset in Argentina’s political landscape by emerging as the leading vote-getter in the primary elections to choose presidential candidates for the upcoming general election in October. Argentina, a country facing severe economic challenges, has been rocked by Milei’s rise to popularity.

Milei, who is an admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, holds controversial views on various issues. He advocates for the abolition of Argentina’s Central Bank, denies climate change, criticizes sex education as a threat to families, supports the legalization of the sale of human organs, and wants to ease gun ownership laws.

Although the final results are still being tallied, Milei has garnered around 30% of the total vote, according to official results with 92% of polling locations reporting. This unexpected success has positioned him as a serious contender for the presidency in Argentina.

In his victory speech, Milei pledged to dismantle the corrupt political establishment and bring about a new Argentina. He stated, “A different Argentina is impossible with the same people as always.”

The rise of Milei reflects the deep discontent among Argentinians who are grappling with high inflation, increasing poverty rates, and a rapidly depreciating currency. Many voters see an outsider candidate like Milei as a way to express their frustration with traditional politicians.

Despite concerns about the potential impact of Milei’s economic policies on financial markets, his supporters believe that adopting the U.S. dollar as the national currency will lead to economic stability, citing examples of dollarized countries that have curbed inflation.

The primary elections also revealed a shift to the right in the main opposition coalition, as former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich secured a decisive victory over her more centrist counterpart, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta. Bullrich emphasized the need for unity and a profound change in Argentina to combat corruption and implement austerity measures.

The current governing coalition, Union for the Homeland, suffered a blow due to voter dissatisfaction with the state of the economy. Economy Minister Sergio Massa will be the coalition’s presidential candidate, defeating leftist Juan Grabois.

The outcome of the primary elections highlights the widespread fatigue among the electorate towards the two dominant political coalitions that have held power for years. Voters feel that their real needs have been neglected, as the political establishment prioritizes internal dynamics over addressing the concerns of the people.

Milei’s supporters are optimistic that his momentum will continue to grow leading up to the general election in October. They appreciate his ideas about freedom and believe that people are tired of being misled by politicians.

Associated Press journalists Almudena Calatrava, Débora Rey, and Natacha Pisarenko contributed to this report.

Unique Perspective: The rise of far-right populism in Argentina, as illustrated by Javier Milei’s electoral success, underscores the growing discontent among citizens who feel disillusioned by mainstream politics and are seeking alternative solutions. This trend reflects a broader global phenomenon where voters, frustrated with existing political systems, turn to unconventional candidates who promise radical change. While such developments may disrupt established political dynamics, they also highlight the urgent need for traditional politicians to address the concerns and aspirations of their constituents.

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