Argentina’s presidential election race has an unpredictable X factor: Javier Milei, a fiery far-right populist who has emerged as the biggest winner in Sunday’s primary election.
The 52-year-old politician has exploited people’s disenchantment with the traditional political establishment, which has failed to address the perennial economic crisis in the Latin American nation.
With tousled hair, often sporting leather jackets and singing rock songs at his boisterous political rallies, Milei – an admirer of former US President Donald Trump – wants to purge politics of what he calls “thieves”.
The libertarian economist and author has proposed to dollarise the economy, shutter the central bank and shut down some ministries to shrink the state in steps to fix Argentina’s economy, which faces high inflation and currency devaluation amid dwindling reserves and a looming debt bomb.
Milei will be the frontrunner in the October presidential elections with centre-right coalition candidate Patricia Bullrich and the ruling coalition candidate Economy Minister Sergio Massa trailing in second and third place respectively.