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Libertarian candidate Javier Milei won Argentina’s primary election Sunday, in a surprise victory that suggests a shift toward the right ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election, the Financial Times reported.
The former TV personality and one-term congressman secured more than 30 percent of the vote, 10 percent more than predicted.
That result also puts his Freedom Advances party ahead of the conservative force, Together for Change, with 28.3 percent, and the ruling populist coalition, Union for the Homeland, whose candidate is centrist Economy Minister Sergio Massa, which earned 27.2 percent.
Incumbent President Alberto Fernández, and his deputy, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, are not participating in the elections.
Analysts said Milei’s victory highlights the deep-seated frustration many Argentines feel regarding the inability of previous administrations to establish lasting economic stability.
Milei has gained national attention for his proposals, which include advocating for stringent austerity measures and the adoption of the US dollar as Argentina’s official currency.
Argentina is grappling with a range of economic challenges, including hyperinflation and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, while around 40 percent of the country lives in poverty.
While his primary success might not translate to victory in the October general elections, his emergence as a frontrunner has shaken up the race and could derail the race for Together for Change candidate Patricia Bullrich.
Both Milei and Bullrich appeal to the right-leaning segment of the electorate, potentially dividing their voter base and benefiting Massa.