Argentina has voted radical hardliner Javier Milei to rule as its next president after a divisive and bitter election.
Mr Milei surged from relative obscurity to score nearly 56 per cent of the vote while Sergio Massa, the current economy minister, won only 44 per cent.
“Today the reconstruction of Argentina begins. Today is a historic night for Argentina,” Mr Milei told jubilant supporters outside of his campaign headquarters on Sunday evening.
Mr Milei – a political newcomer, former TV pundit and Trump-loving libertarian economist – pledged to make “drastic changes” to the country and smash up the economic orthodoxy after he is sworn in on December 10.
Amid rampant 143 per cent inflation and record poverty, he campaigned on dismantling the Central Bank, dollarizing the economy, slashing social subsidies and halving the number of government ministries.
Mr Milei, 53, has also heavily criticised what he calls the country’s “corrupt political caste,” and earlier in his campaign wielded a powered-up chainsaw to symbolise the cuts he plans to make.
On Sunday night, there were fewer theatrics as he delivered a victory speech that was muted in tone, but not in message.
“There is no room for gradualism, there is no room for lukewarmness or half-measures,” Mr Milei said. “There is no way back.”
He also vowed “a limited government, respect for private property and free trade” adding that the “model of decadence has come to an end”.
Thousands of supporters blasted rock music, set off fireworks, honked horns and chanted the president-elect’s popular refrain against the political elite – “out with all of them” – as they celebrated the win on Sunday night: