Nov 21, 2023

Argentina Elects Javier Milei as Next President

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The citizens of Argentina chose the extreme libertarian economist Javier Milei as their new president in the runoff election held on Sunday. Milei received 56% of the vote compared to the current economic minister, Sergio Massa, with 44%. Milei will assume the presidency on December 10th.

The alt-right politician with little political experience promised to transform the morbid Argentine economy by slashing spending, slashing taxes, adopting the U.S. dollar as the country currency, closing the central bank, slashing regulations, privatizing state industries, reduce federal ministries from 18 to 8, and generally "turning everything upside down." His Liberty Advance party may have a difficult time advancing his programs through the Argentine Congress where his party holds 7 of the 72 seats in the Senate (10%) and 38 of the 257 seats in the House (14%).

Many feel this was a protest vote against Peronism that has held power in Argentina for 16 of the last 20 years. The election was held on the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the first democratically elected president following the fall of the military doctorship.

Milei has promised to turbocharge Argentine agriculture by eliminating export taxes, which for soybeans is 33%, stop interfering in the export market, stop trying to micromanage domestic food prices with export quotas, and generally encouraging Argentine farmers to ramp up production. He made a strong showing in rural areas while Massa was strong in metropolitan areas.

His campaign symbol was a chainsaw that he said he would use to cut out corruption and transform the economy. It remains to be seen if he can follow through on his promises.