BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina has elected a new president, Javier Milei, a radical libertarian who has promised bold reforms to revitalize the country’s faltering economy. Milei, a first-term legislator and television economist, defeated economy minister Sergio Massa by a significant 11-percentage point margin. His pledge to implement shock therapy and privatize national oil company YPF, state television, and radio has created anxieties and uncertainties about the future of the deeply divided South American nation.
The elected president has expressed intentions to visit the US and Israel before his inauguration, highlighting the urgency to address the country’s dire financial situation. Argentina’s foreign exchange reserves are depleted, annual inflation has skyrocketed to 142.7 percent, and the treasury has been drained by pre-election spending. Milei’s transition into office faces immense challenges as he seeks to navigate the complex economic landscape and implement his aggressive economic policies.
Chairing Milei’s priorities is the task of preparing a new 2024 budget to present to congress upon taking office on December 10. The president-elect is also expected to engage in discussions with the International Monetary Fund regarding the restructuring of Argentina’s troubled $44bn loan program. However, Milei’s ability to enact his ambitious plans may be hindered by his lack of a congressional majority and the absence of allies in influential regional governor positions.
As Milei prepares to unveil his administration’s economic policies and appoint a new economy minister, concerns loom over the looming transition and the country’s mounting debt. Argentina’s short-term financial stability and long-term economic trajectory remain uncertain, with many questioning the feasibility and implications of Milei’s vision for the future of the country.