His legions of fans call him “the crazy” and “the wig” due to his ferocity and unruly mop of hair, while he refers to himself as “the lion.” He thinks sex education is a Marxist plot to destroy the family, views his cloned mastiffs as his “children with four paws” and has raised the possibility people should be allowed to sell their own vital organs. He is Javier Milei, Argentina’s next president.
A few years ago, Milei was a television talking head that bookers loved because his screeds against government spending and the ruling political class boosted ratings. At the time, and up until mere months ago, hardly any political expert believed he had a real shot at becoming president of South America’s second-largest economy.
But Milei, a 53-year-old economist, has rocked Argentina’s political establishment and inserted himself into what has long been effectively a two-party system by amassing a groundswell of support with his prescriptions of drastic measures to rein in soaring inflation and by pledging to crusade against the creep of socialism in society.
Before entering the public spotlight, Milei was chief economist at Corporación America, one of Argentina’s largest business conglomerates that, among other things, runs most of the country’s airports. He worked there until 2021, when he won his seat as a lawmaker.
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