On November 19, Argentina faced one of the most important elections since the return of democracy in 1983 exactly 40 years ago. The pro-life libertarian underdog candidate Javier Milei and his party “La Libertad Avanza” won the presidential run-off with a landslide victory, a 12% margin over the leftist Peronist former Minister of Economy Sergio Massa: 56% versus 44%. The two candidates campaigned for each vote in one of the most polarized and ideologized campaigns ever.
During the first electoral round, held on October 22, the ruling party candidate Massa unexpectedly reached 36.7% while Milei received just 30%. This was an election between freedom against the Hobbes' Leviathan idea embraced by Peronism, as well as all the majority of the leftist governments in Ibero-America.
Milei’s victory represented a historical change for a country run by Peronists for more than 45 years. This victory is also due to the crucial support provided by the former presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich and her center-right coalition “Juntos por el Cambio” who arrived third with 23.84 % in the first election round last October.
TOPSHOT - Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei waves to supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. Libertarian outsider Javier Milei pulled off a massive upset Sunday with a resounding win in Argentina's presidential election, a stinging rebuke of the traditional parties that have overseen decades of economic decline. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP) (Photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images). AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
In his first public and inclusive statement new President elect Milei stated, “Today begins the reconstruction of Argentina. Today begins the end of Argentina's decline. The model of decadence has come to an end. Argentina will return to its place in the world that it should never have lost. We are going to work shoulder-to-shoulder with all the nations of the free world, to help build a better world. Our key words are limited government, respect of property rights and free trade.”
In fact, this is the victory of the majority of Argentinians tired of the permanent economic stagnation and fed up with bureaucratic leftist welfarism that dragged 40% of Argentinians under the poverty line including 56% of children. Javier Milei has shaken Argentinian politics since he announced to run for president in 2020. Milei, an entrepreneur, former TV pundit and academic economist and self-proclaimed anarcho-libertarian was able to brand himself as the last hope against the corrupted “Kirchnerism” establishment elite that have run the country for the last 20 years.
This leftist elite transformed Argentina into a socialist and unionized country with a stagnating economy that is plagued by 150% of inflation. Milei’s flagship ideas consist of opening and de-regulating the Argentinian economy, reducing taxation, strengthening property rights, de-unionizing all the productive sectors and dollarizing the economy in order to reduce the current inflation that is strangling an already weak economic environment.
In fact, Milei was able to change the campaign narrative by signing the taxpayer pledge in 2021 on national TV. The taxpayer pledge was proposed by Jonas Torrico, president of the Asociación Argentina de Contribuyentes (Argentinian Taxpayer Association). Javier Milei officially promised not to increase taxation and make all possible reductions to the current thresholds. "Argentine politics” Jonas Torrico says “has changed since the appearance of Javier Milei since he signed the Compromiso Con El Contribuyente (The Commitment to Taxpayers). This pledge changed the electoral narrative during the presidential campaign. "We have impacted the Argentine Congress” stated Torrico “by stopping billions of dollars in taxes since we have managed to form a majority bloc of deputies who do not vote for tax increases. All of this was possible thanks to the Compromiso Con el Contribuyente program that we carry out from the Argentine Taxpayer Association.”
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - SEPTEMBER 25: Presidential candidate Javier Milei of La Libertad Avanza lifts a chainsaw next to his candidate to Buenos Aires Province governor, Carolina Piparo during a rally on September 25, 2023 in San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Tomas Cuesta/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES
Considered as one of the richest countries in the world in the 20th century, Argentina was able to constantly and systematically embrace and implement radical welfare and ununionized policies that has systematical draged the country to the bottom of several indexes. According to the Index of Economic Freedom Argentina ranks 144 out 176; while in the Trade Barrier Index Argentina ranks 80 out 88 countries analyzed and ranks 95 out 125 in the International Property Rights Index.
“For us” according to the newly elected Argentinian Congressman Santiago Santurio from La Libertad Avanza Milei’s Party, “it is a huge hope and big change for Argentina. For 20 years, the only thing that has increased in the country is the number of poor people and regulations. Now we are going to have a government that gives greater freedom and initiative to citizens.”
The current defeat of Peronism in Argentina could have an impact on all the radical leftist governments in power in the region especially after the victory of the new president elect Daniel Noboa in Ecuador and the recent victory of Carlos Fernando Galan, mayor of Bogota last October.
This historical victory could be the “last tango” for the Peronists in Argentina during the 2023 elections. A new libertarian narrative was introduced, in these presidential elections, that reshaped the political spectrum forever, in favor of freedom and minimal state intervention, low taxation, free market, free-trade, de-regulation and respect for property rights. “Viva la Libertad, Carajo”.
This article was originally published in Forbes.