The ultra-liberal Javier Millay, 53, will be Argentina’s next president after he won a landslide victory in the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, ushering in a period of uncertainty for Latin America’s No. 3 economy, which he says he will apply shock therapy to.

Mr Miley, an “anti-systemic” politician who rode the wave of the will of a large part of the electorate to see the Peronists and the rightists who have ruled the country for the last twenty years “go”, beat outgoing Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a margin eleven plus units. He secured 55.6% of the vote, compared to 44.3% of his centrist opponent, with 99% of the ballots counted, according to official results.

The president-elect, who will take office on December 10, promised in his victory speech “the end of decadence” and the “reconstruction of Argentina”, declaring at the same time that there will be no “half measures”.

He spoke of a “historic night for Argentina” in front of thousands of jubilant supporters outside his campaign headquarters in Buenos Aires.

“We are facing monumental problems: inflation (143% year-on-year), stagnation, lack of real jobs, insecurity, poverty and misery,” he enumerated.

“There is no place for lukewarmness and half-measures”, warned the one who for two years has been announcing that he will cut public spending with the “chainsaw” in order to change the path of the pathologically over-indebted state where 40% of the population lives below the limit of poverty.

He reiterated that he is determined to “put the finances in order” and solve the problems of the central bank, an institution in which he has said he wants to put “dynamite”, to abolish him.

“The (s.s. political) caste is afraid,” and “long live freedom you bastard,” slogans-fetish of candidate Miley, were repeated outside his campaign headquarters.

“Youth made the difference”

Nicolas Paes, an architect, 34 years old, said that Javier Millay’s victory gives him “hope”, that “change was necessary” and now “he does not want to leave the country”, stressing that it was “the youth that made the difference”.

“Let everyone leave, let no one stay!” shouted the crowd of supporters of the president-elect, waving flags of Argentina, blue and white, and of the party La Libertad Avanza, yellow, with the lion emblem, a symbol that refers to the president himself Javier Millay. Car horns of supporters of the president-elect were honking.

The extent of the victory surprised him. Polls gave him a slight lead, while analysts expected the result to come down to a thread, with the country looking as divided as ever since it returned to democracy 40 years ago.

Two diametrically opposed visions were proposed to the electorate.

On the one hand, Mr. Massa, Minister of Economy for the last 16 months, promised a “government of national unity” and gradual healing of the economy, with the defense of the welfare state, a factor absolutely crucial for many in Argentina.

Against him the outsider, Mr. Miley, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist”, a warrior first of the television sets, then of the political arena in the last two years, promised to “dismember” the “enemy state” and dollarize the economy.

He said he would reach out to “all citizens and political leaders” who want to march with him, but warned against possible social resistance to the reforms he intends to push.

Does he talk like Scaloni?

“We know that there are some who will resist, who want to maintain this system of privileges for some, but which makes the majority poor. I say to them: everything that is within the law is permitted, but nothing outside the law.”

“Miley campaigned promising results quickly. We all see that this is not possible, but the idea convinced his electoral audience: quick change; the chainsaw. I don’t think it will have a long grace period,” summed up Lara Oiburou, a political scientist at the University of Buenos Aires.

For the political scientist Gabriel Vomaro, of the University of San Martin, Javier Millay, with his belligerent speech, especially against sectors that are expected to revolt, especially against civil servants, raises the risk of “political and social conflict”.

Javier Millay “is like (sr. Lionel) Scaloni” – the coach of the national football team of Argentina, who led them to win the world cup in 2022 -, “no one believed him, nevertheless in the last analysis did right things. We hope it will have the same course,” said ecstatic Sonia Do Santo, a 36-year-old teacher, among the rest of the crowd of supporters of the president-elect.

Earlier, her colleague Susana Martines, 42, who did not hide that she voted for Mr. Massa, stressed that “Miley’s policies scare me.”

The president-elect is strongly opposed to abortion, in favor of relaxing the legislation on gun ownership, while he has managed to use harsh expressions against his fellow countryman, the prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis.

He often went to campaign rallies with a chainsaw in hand. He shelved it in the final weeks of the campaign.

Abroad, politicians with whom Mr. Millay has ideological affinities congratulated him warmly: “proud of him,” former US President Donald Trump said he was confident he would “transform” Argentina, “give it back its greatness.” . For Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, “hope is shining again” in Latin America.

The US government also “congratulated” Javier Millay on his victory, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken hailing the “great turnout” and “peaceful conduct” of the process and National Security Adviser to the US presidency Jake Sullivan assuring that the Joe Biden’s administration is “looking forward” to building a strong relationship with Argentina’s next government, based on “human rights, democratic values ​​and transparency.”

Brazil’s centre-left President Lula – whom Javier Millais has branded a “corrupt communist”, threatening to cut ties with his government as well as China’s – wished Argentina’s next government “good luck and good success”, avoiding mentioning his elected counterpart by name.

The social-democratic president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, for his part, preferred to leave the pleasantries aside: “The extreme right won in Argentina (…) Sad for Latin America and we’ll see,” he said.