Javier Milei celebrates winning primary vote in Argentina
Right-wing populist Javier Milei resoundingly won Argentina’s presidency.
Milei, a self-described anarcho-capitalist with a disheveled mop of hair, made his name by furiously denouncing the “political caste” on television programmes.
His pledge for abrupt, severe change resonated with Argentines weary of annual inflation soaring above 140 per cent and a poverty rate that reached 40 per cent. He will take power on December 10.
The new populist leader sparked worries in the UK during his election campaign as he promised to “get the Falklands back” to Argentina.
Despite claiming Margaret Thatcher was one of the “great leaders in the history of humanity”, Milei said he would be looking into solutions for the Malvinas Islands, as he calls the Falklands, to return to Argentina.
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He told La Nacion: “What do I propose? Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentine. Now we have to see how we are going to get them back. It is clear that the war option is not a solution.
“What we are proposing is to move towards a solution like the one England had with China over the Hong Kong issue and that in this context the position of the people who live on the islands cannot be ignored. You cannot deny that those people are there. You cannot disregard those human beings.
“You have to negotiate with Britain and consider the views of the people who live on the islands. If I am saying that the Malvinas are Argentine, why are there any doubts? I am saying something that is in the national constitution. We are looking for a solution for the Malvinas Islands to return to Argentina through diplomacy, a solution that is viable, that is achievable.”
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Once in office, Milei said he will slash government spending, dollarise the economy and eliminate the Central Bank as well as key ministries, including those of health and education. An admirer of former US President Donald Trump, he has likewise presented himself as a crusader against the sinister creep of global socialism with plans to purge the government of corrupt establishment politicians.
In the weeks before the runoff, though, he walked back some of his more unpopular proposals, such as loosening gun controls and sweeping, indiscriminate privatisation.
Supporters celebrated Sunday night outside Milei’s headquarters in downtown Buenos Aires, drinking beer and chanting as fireworks went off overhead. They waved both Argentine flags and the yellow Gadsden flag, embellished with the words “Don’t Tread On Me,” which Milei’s movement has adopted as its own.
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