Argentina President-Elect Javier Milei Speaks: ‘Today We Embrace the Ideas of Liberty’

Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei delivered a rousing victory speech on Sunday night, interrupted by chants of “liberty!” and campaign songs calling for the ouster of all politicians, promising to “embrace the ideas of liberty” and restore Argentina to world-power status within 35 years.

Milei won the nation’s chief executive office in a landslide vote, defeating socialist opponent Sergio Massa, the nation’s current minister of economics, by about 12 percentage points. Massa had won the first round of voting in October, when Milei – a solidly right-wing economic populist – had to compete for the vote with an establishment conservative candidate, Patricia Bullrich. As no candidate in that election received enough support to win the presidency outright, the top two vote-getters – Massa and Milei – went on to Sunday’s runoff vote, leaving Bullrich out of the election.

Bullrich and the leader of her coalition, former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, enthusiastically endorsed Milei after the first round of voting. Milei, in turn, thanked them for what he called a “historic” move in embracing his movement.

Javier Milei is an economist by trade who rose to prominence in the country offering economic analysis on cable news. He founded his political party, Liberty Advances, in 2021, and became a lawmaker in a shocking election that year that saw the socialist Peronist ruling party coalition lose the majority in Congress for the first time since 1983. He identifies as libertarian – “liberal” in Latin America – staunching anti-socialist, anti-communist, and small-government. He has promised to end the Argentine Central Bank, install the U.S. dollar as an official currency, and distance Argentina from rogue communist states such as China, contrary to the foreign policy of the string of leftist leaders who will precede him when he takes office on December 10.

Argentine presidential candidate for the La Libertad Avanza alliance Javier Milei (L) celebrates with supporters after winning the presidential election runoff at his party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images)

Milei is the Western Hemisphere’s first Libertarian third-party president-elect – and referred to his victory as a “miracle” on Sunday.

Massa broke the news to the Argentine people of his own defeat, issuing his concession speech and confirming he had congratulated Milei privately before Argentina’s election authorities published their vote counts.

In his first remarks to the public since the announcement of his victory. Milei repeatedly promised to “once again embrace the ideas of liberty,” insisting that his proposals were not a new “invention,” but a longstanding tradition of classical liberalism that had once made Argentina the wealthiest country in the world a century ago.

“Today begins the reconstruction of Argentina,” he vowed.

“Today we turn the page of our history and return to take the path that we never should have lost. Today, the impoverishing model of the omnipresent state – which only benefits some while the majority of Argentines suffer – ends,” he declared. “Today ends the idea that the state is loot to be divided among politicians and their friends. Today ends that vision that the victimizers are the victims and the victims the victimizers. Today, we retake the path that made this country great, today we again embrace the ideas of liberty.”

Milei credited Argentina’s “founding fathers” for making it possible for a “country of barbarians” to go on to be the “top world power” in the 19th century in a 35-year span, and later promised that he, too, would put the country on the path to being a top-tier world power within 35 years.

The president-elect then reiterated his principles: “a limited government – and I want this to remain clear – that fulfills to the letter its commitments that it has taken. [And] respect for private property and free commerce.”

“The model of decadence has come to an end, there is no turning back. The results of this model are at the sight of everyone,” he continued, “from being the wealthiest country in the world, we are now 130th. Half of Argentines are poor and ten percent are indigent. Enough of the impoverishing model of the caste. Today we once again embrace the model of liberty to return to being a world power.”

Milei’s supporters interrupted his speech to begin singing a song calling for the ouster of all politicians, singing, “they’ve all got to go/let not a single one stay.”

Supporters of the Argentine President-elect Javier Milei celebrate his victory in the presidential election runoff outside the party headquarters in Buenos Aires on November 19, 2023. (EMILIANO LASALVIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Milei also extended an olive branch to opponents, stating, “all who want to join the new Argentina will be welcome, no matter where they come from, no matter what they did before, no matter what differences we may have – I am sure that what unites us is more important than what separates us because that is what will bring the country back on its feet and return us to being a power.”

To potential rioters – Latin America has a prolific modern history of leftists reacting to the victory of right-wing presidential candidates by burning down major cities – he said, “within the law, everything, outside of the law, nothing. In this new Argentina, there is no room for violent people.”

Milei also conceded that Argentina is currently in a dire economic situation, suffering some of the world’s worst inflation rates leading to high rates of unemployment and poverty.

“The situation of Argentina is critical. The changes that our country needs are drastic. There is no room for gradualism, there is no room for lukewarmness, there is no room for half-measures,” he emphasized. “If we don’t advance quickly with the structural changes that argentina needs, we will go straight into the worst crisis of our entire history.”

Milei told the international community that Argentina would “reclaim the place in the world that it should never have lost” and his people that, “within 35 years, we will once again be a world power,” if Argentina continues on a small-government, libertarian path.

“Despite the enormous problems the country has, despite how bleak the situation looks, Argentina has a future but that future exists only if the future is liberal,” he asserted.

Milei concluded by assuring supporters, “without a doubt, we are partying today.”

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