Mon, 11 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday extended his greetings to Javier Milei for winning the Argentina Presidential elections and expressed his hope to expand the India-Argentina strategic partnership.

Taking to X, PM Modi said, "Congratulations @JMilei for the victory in the Presidential elections. Look forward to working closely with you to diversify and expand India-Argentina strategic partnership."Pulling off a major upset, Javier Milei, considered a far-right conservative leader -- won the Argentina presidential elections in provincial results, CNN reported on Sunday (local time).

Provisional results so far show Milei with over 55 per cent of votes (13,781,154) with more than 94 per cent of votes counted, CNN reported, citing the data from the country's National Electoral Chamber, which has not yet declared an official winner.

His rival Sergio Massa conceded the run-off vote even before official results were announced with a brief speech. "Milei is the president elected for the next four years," said Massa, adding that he had already called Milei to congratulate him.

Milei's victory marks an extraordinary rise for the former TV pundit, who entered the race as a political outsider on a promise to "break up with the status quo" - exemplified by Sergio Massa.

According to CNN, his campaign promises to dollarize Argentina, if enacted, and is also expected to thrust the country into new territory: no country of Argentina's size has previously turned over the reins of its own monetary policy to Washington decision-makers.

Milei, a social conservative with ties to the American right, opposes abortion rights and has called climate change a "lie of socialism." He has promised to slash government spending by closing Argentina's ministries of culture, education, and diversity, and by eliminating public subsidies.

"Make Argentina great again!" Trump posted on his platform Truth Social on Sunday reacting over Milei's win. "I am very proud of you," he added.

Outside of his controversial plan for dollarization, Milei's political program includes slashing regulations on gun control and transferring authority over the penitentiary system from civilians to the military; both measures are part of a tough-on-crime approach.

He also proposes using public funds to support families who choose to educate their children privately and even privatizing the health sector, which in Argentina has always been in public hands.

Earlier, several outspoken comments landed Milei in hot water, without deterring his most ardent supporters. He triggered an uproar when it appeared Milei was in favour of opening a market for organ transplants, although he later retracted his declarations.

According to CNN, Milei's unexpected political ascent will be closely scrutinized around the world as a potential sign of a resurgence of far-right populism in the region.

While former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro endorsed Milei's candidacy, the leftist leaders in the region - including current Brazilian leader Luiz Inaacio Lula da Silva and Colombia's Gustavo Petro - abandoned a tradition of non-intervention to back Massa in the election run-up.

The candidacy of Massa, a lifelong politician, came to represent Argentina's political establishment over the course of the race against Milei.

Inflation reached painful heights during his tenure as economy minister, at 142 per cent year on year, but Massa argued that the current government's actions were working to temper the pain - an argument that failed to convince voters exhausted by a cost-of-living crisis, CNN reported.

The public opinion polls had shown the two candidates neck-and-neck in recent weeks. (ANI)

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