Argentina is about to decide the fate of their country. Will they keep on the same track of socialism that led to poverty and corruption, or will they try something new with Javier Milei?
The first thing you might see about Jilei is his hair. News articles about his style dropped on news and entertainment websites everywhere with a smug attitude. The coverage propelled him in the polls to public curiosity in Argentina, and the people there discovered that he was a very populist outsider similar to President Donald Trump in America.
As much as the media demonizes Trump in America, the country had a golden age boom in the economy and kept the nation out of foreign wars. This led to respect around the world internationally, so while the media tries to use the comparison to discredit Jilei, all it does is further serve his message that it’s time for a change from career politicians who got Argentina into such a mess. It looked like the country would never recover.
His anti-corruption and anti-socialism message garnered unprecedented support among the Argentinean people. The candidates for establishment parties rallied against him, and we saw similar talk among them as we did about Trump, calling him dangerous because of his bombastic rhetoric.
Argentina has a system akin to an open primary where members of different parties run, and then the top two candidates go to a run-off. If one candidate gets 45% or more of the vote, the run-off is canceled, and that person is declared President.
Milei was able to secure 30% of the Argentinean vote in the October 22nd first round, securing his place in the run-off election against Sergio Massa, the country’s Minister of Economy who leads what’s called a centre-left coalition, but represents the status quo socialism which got Argentina into its economic mess in the first place.
The poverty rate is 39.2%, according to Argentina’s national statistics agency, with hyperinflation still occurring at 142%, making the United States inflation woes look like a walk in the park. Massive overhauls are needed for the country to pull itself out of the hot water that the socialists have dug for it over the last several decades.
Milei has vowed to fight against socialism. He’s gone so far as to call the Catholic Pope Francis a “filthy leftist,” which has alienated a large portion of Argentinean’s religious population. At the same time, the population is sick of the destruction leftism has brought to the country, which has garnered him the support he’s enjoyed so far.
His campaign has claimed the first round of elections suffered from fraud, similar to what the United States endured in 2020 with its suspicious results. “There were irregularities of such proportion that they put the result in doubt,” Milei said regarding the vote. “Whoever counts the vote controls everything.”
The run-off has Argentineans on edge going into the vote. The country can change the course of its history or sink into further poverty as the same policies continue. As of the latest polls, Milei leads 52.7% to 47.9%, but will the narrow lead be enough to overcome corruption? We will see the results soon.