Argentina’s newly crowned president-elect Javier Milei vowed on Sunday to “end Argentine decadence” and restore the nation to economic growth and stability after storming to victory in a second-round run-off.
"Today begins the reconstruction of Argentina. Today begins the end of Argentina's decline. Today ends the impoverishing model of the omnipresent state, which only benefits some while the majority suffers," the libertarian lawmaker said after his resounding win.
Milei, 53, was elected president in the presidential run-off after easing to a clear victory over his rival, Economy Minister Sergio Massa.
With 96.34 percent of polling stations reporting, the libertarian had 55.77 percent to his opponent’s 44.22 percent.
Taking to the stage a little after 10pm, Milei thanked the “good Argentines,” his sister and campaign manager Karina Milei and those that accompanied him on the journey to the Casa Rosada.
Milei listed the country's multiple woes, which include poverty levels of 40 percent, and increasing insecurity, saying they "only have a solution if we once again embrace the ideas of freedom."
He vowed to "work side by side with all nations of the free world to help build a better world.”
The libertarian continued: "Today one way of doing politics has ended and another begins. Despite the gloomy situation, I want to tell you that Argentina has a future. That future exists, if that future is liberal."
Referencing his controversial economic proposals – which include “dynamiting” the Central Bank and dollarising the economy – Milei said: "There is no room for gradualism, there is no room for lukewarmness or half-measures."
He said all those who sought change and rejected Argentina’s previous mode of government were welcome to join him.
Milei promised to return Argentina, one of the richest countries in the world a century ago, to its former glory, after decades of stagnation, mostly under the populist Peronist coalition – big on welfare and government spending.
The president-elect vowed "a limited government, respect for private property and free trade. The model of decadence has come to an end. There is no way back.”
Milei offered special thanks to former president Mauricio Macri and failed opposition presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich, who threw their support behind him after defeat in the first round and helped bring over their voters to his force.
He also thanked scrutineers from his party and those from the opposition PRO party that had worked to protect and count votes at polling stations.
Milei ended his speech with his traditional trademark rallying call: “Viva la libertad carajo!” (“fucking long live freedom”).
News of the libertarian’s victory prompted wild scenes from supporters on the streets of Buenos Aires. The area around the Hotel Libertador, his traditional bunker for election night, was swamped by revellers celebrating his win.