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Argentina’s upcoming presidential election is experiencing an unforeseen element of uncertainty: the emergence of Javier Milei, a charismatic and flamboyant libertarian figure. Known for his leather jackets, wild hair, and rock performances at rallies, Milei’s rise to prominence resembles the showmanship of former US President Donald Trump or Italy’s Beppe Grillo. Despite his relatively recent appearance on the political scene, he now holds around 20% support in polls, a surge attributed to his confrontational rallies that resonate with voters frustrated by high inflation and increasing poverty rates.



Milei, a 52-year-old economist, is determined to dismantle the existing political establishment, aiming to eliminate corruption and what he labels as “thieves” from politics. His radical ideas include closing the central bank, adopting a dollarized economy, and significantly reducing the size of the government. These proposals have struck a chord with many voters, particularly the younger generation, who have endured years of economic decline.

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While Milei remains an underdog in the October 22 general election, he has transformed it into a three-way competition by challenging both the ruling Peronist coalition and the primary conservative opposition group, Together for Change. With no internal competition in the upcoming primary vote, Milei only needs to achieve 1.5% support to advance to the October contest. The primary’s outcome will gauge his popularity and potential threat in the general election.


Despite his outsider status, pollsters estimate his support to be around 20%, a significant figure that could grant his party substantial influence in Congress and potentially make him a kingmaker in a runoff between the top two candidates.

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Milei’s campaign events have been marked by high energy and enthusiasm. He denounces the political elite as “robbers” who exploit the populace and pledges to defend against this system of exploitation. His supporters chant “freedom, freedom,” echoing the name of his party, La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances).

Beyond politics, Milei’s background includes being a former rock musician and athlete. He holds conservative stances, opposing abortion and advocating for gun rights. He views worker-friendly labor laws as detrimental and regards the state as the root of all problems. He has even expressed admiration for the US gangster Al Capone.


Milei’s ascent mirrors a broader trend in Latin America, where non-mainstream politicians promising to disrupt the status quo have gained prominence in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. Dissatisfaction with conventional politicians has driven this trend.

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Critics argue that Milei’s proposals are unrealistic, particularly his plan to dollarize the economy. While many Argentines oppose this due to historical currency devaluation and inflation, Milei remains steadfast in his convictions. His unyielding nature, while off-putting to some, has also contributed to his success, as it reflects his commitment to action rather than compromise.


Benjamin Gedan, from the Wilson Centre, suggests that Milei could potentially achieve a surprising result in the election, even if not a victory. His presence alone has disrupted the established political landscape, offering a new perspective for disillusioned voters. In a country where the two major coalitions historically dominated elections, Milei’s ability to

By Jhone Marky

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