HomeNewsFar-right populist Javier Milei is the biggest vote-getter in Argentina primary

Far-right populist Javier Milei is the biggest vote-getter in Argentina primary

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Far-right populist Javier Milei rocked Argentina’s political establishment Sunday by emerging as the biggest vote-getter in primary elections to choose presidential candidates for the October general election in a nation battered by economic woes.

Milei, an admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, says Argentina’s Central Bank should be abolished, thinks climate change is a lie, characterizes sex education as a ploy to destroy the family, believes the sale of human organs should be legal and wants to make it easier to own handguns.

Votes were still being counted late Sunday, but analysts agreed that the upstart candidate who gained notoriety — and a rockstar-like following — by angrily ranting against the “political caste” did much better than expected and is a real contender for the presidency in this South American country.

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With around 92% of polling locations reporting, Milei had around 30% of the total vote, according to official results. The candidates in the main opposition coalition, United for Change, were at 28% and the current governing coalition, Union for the Homeland, had 27%.

Celebrating in his election headquarters, Milei vowed to bring “an end to the parasitic, corrupt and useless political caste that exists in this country.”

“Today we took the first step toward the reconstruction of Argentina,” he said. “A different Argentina is impossible with the same people as always.”

Before the election, analysts had warned that a better-than-expected showing for Milei, 52, would likely upset financial markets and lead to a sharp plunge in the value of Argentina’s peso amid uncertainty about what economic policies he might implement if he became president.

Though Sunday’s voting was officially to pick candidates for various political blocs, it was also viewed as a nationwide poll on where candidates stand with Argentines going into the October election.

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