Javier Milei, a far-right TV personality with just two years’ of political experience, has handily won Argentina’s race for President.
With nearly all of the votes counted as of Monday morning, Milei won nearly 56% in a runoff against his left-wing rival, Sergio Massa, who won 44%.
Just a few years ago, the 53-year-old Milei, an economist, was a television talking head who became popular for his lambasting government spending and the political ruling class in Argentina.
A self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” Milei spoke from a libertarian viewpoint on the campaign trail, calling for the loosening of Argentina’s labor laws and a vast shrinking of the government—campaigning at times with a chainsaw to illustrate the spending cuts he wants.
Until 2021 when he became a lawmaker, Milei had been chief economist at Corporación America, one of Argentina’s largest business conglomerates. Among other ventures, the company runs most of the country’s airports.
A far-right hardliner, Milei opposes feminist policies and wants to re-outlaw abortion in Argentina just a few years after the procedure was legalized. He also denies that climate change in any way is caused by human behavior and has denounced Pope Francis as an “imbecile” for defending social justice.
Among his eccentricities, he has cloned his dogs, whom he calls his “children with four paws.”
Milei’s election victory has been hailed by like-minded politicians, including former U.S. President Trump, who has said Milei will “Make Argentina Great Again” while former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that “hope would shine again in South America.”