Who is Argentina’s presidential frontrunner?

As Argentines head to the polls, there’s a good chance their next president could be a man who has been compared to both Donald Trump and Wolverine

Driving the news: Argentina’s presidential elections are tomorrow. While most poll-watchers predict a run-off vote will be needed to decide the winner (which would be in November), smart money is betting that hard-right libertarian Javier Milei will eventually come out on top.  

Who is this guy? 

We’re so glad you asked. Milei is many things. A Rolling Stones cover band singer. A former tantric sex coach. An enemy of The Pope. And, chiefly, a self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” who wields a chainsaw at rallies and wants to radically restructure Argenina’s economy.

  • Among other things, Milei has pledged to eliminate the central bank, reduce public spending by 15% of GDP, and replace the Argentine peso with the US dollar. 

Why it matters: Milei has garnered so much support because Argentina’s economic situation is dire, and has been for some time. The country has experienced 16 recessions since 1950 (and is on the verge of another) and could see inflation hit 210% by year’s end. 

  • Despite this turmoil, Argentina is still a pillar of the region, thanks to its abundance of valuable natural resources.

  • Despite his eccentricities, there is hope that Milei could be the one to stabilize and maximize South America’s second-largest economy. 

Yes, but: Critics argue Milei will only destabilize things further. In fact, the mere prospect of his presidency has already driven down the peso. There’s also the matter of his contentious social policies, which are anti-environmentalist, anti-reproductive rights, and pro-organ selling.—QH