- By Katy Watson
- South America Correspondent
Far-right libertarian outsider Javier Milei has won Argentina’s presidential vote, according to preliminary results.
Milei’s rival, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, urged him to concede.
Former US President Donald Trump congratulated Mr Milei on his victory and said he would “make Argentina great again!”.
The election comes at a difficult time for Argentina, with rising inflation and an economy in crisis on people’s minds.
Sir. Milei’s proposals, which included detonating the central bank, won support from voters desperate for change.
He confounded pollsters by easily defeating the candidate for the ruling Peronists, tentatively by more than 10 points.
Preliminary results showed Mr Milei with almost 56% of the vote compared to 44% for Mr Massa, with almost 90% of the votes counted.
“Obviously the results are not what we expected. I have contacted Javier Milei to congratulate him,” Massa said.
“Starting tomorrow, the responsibility of providing security belongs to Milei.”
It was a close race to the end, but the former expert, who at one point used a chainsaw on the campaign trail, won.
A man who has been compared to former US President Donald Trump and former Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, Javier Milei is unproven.
But that was part of his appeal.
His speech to introduce the US dollar as the country’s official currency was met with applause by his supporters. However, many economists talk about financial disaster.
Either way, in a country where annual inflation is now over 140% and two out of five people live in poverty, his victory proves that Argentines are tired of traditional politics and economic disaster.
His victory means they are willing to try something new in an effort to make their lives better.
Reacting to the result, former President Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform: “The whole world was watching! I’m very proud of you.
“You will turn your country around and really make Argentina great again!”
South American leaders have also commented on Mr Milei’s victory, with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva writing: “I wish the new government good luck. Argentina is a great country and deserves all our respect.”
“Brazil will always be available to work with our Argentine brothers,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
On the campaign trail, the president-elect publicly criticized Lula’s policies, branding him an “angry communist.”
Colombian President Gustavo Petro said the result of the election was “sad for Latin America”.
“Neoliberalism no longer has a proposal for society, it cannot respond to the current problems of humanity,” he wrote on X.
But Chile’s president Gabriel Boric said he congratulated Milei “for his victory and Sergio Massa for his dignified acknowledgment of defeat”.
He wrote on X: “I wish the Argentine people the best and know they will always have our respect and support.”
Additional reporting by Emily McGarvey in London