Argentina’s presidential election took an unexpected turn as Sergio Massa, the country’s economy minister, secured over 36% of the vote, defying predictions. Despite being criticized for his handling of the financial crisis, Massa’s lead now paves the way for a run-off against far-right candidate Javier Milei. Milei, a libertarian, had emerged as the frontrunner in the August primaries but finished in second place in the general election, securing 30% of the votes. The run-off will take place on November 19, where voters will choose between the left-wing Peronist Massa and the far-right libertarian Milei.
With Argentina grappling with an inflation rate of nearly 140%, no candidate managed to secure the necessary 45% of votes to win outright. Thus, the run-off vote is crucial in determining the country’s future leadership. Massa’s victory surprised many, as voters had anticipated punishing him for overseeing the ongoing financial crisis. However, supporters took to the streets of Buenos Aires in celebration, citing Massa’s serious vision for the country.
Milei’s radical proposals, including eliminating the central bank and adopting the US dollar as Argentina’s currency, attracted voters craving a drastic approach to revive the economy. Additionally, he pledged to reduce government ministries, streamline bureaucracy, impose stricter gun laws, and restrict access to abortion. Milei proclaimed the election as “the most important in the last 100 years,” emphasizing that it represents a historic moment for change in Argentina.
The differences between Massa and Milei have underscored the deeply divided opinions in the country. Benjamin Gedan, director of the Argentina Project at the Wilson Center think tank, noted that while many Argentines seek radical change, there are significant concerns about the potential consequences of dismantling the social welfare state as proposed by Milei. Gedan cautioned that Milei’s campaign imagery, such as wielding a chainsaw, may inadvertently jeopardize people’s quality of life.
During his campaign, Massa primarily focused on defending the current government’s track record. He acknowledged the complexity of Argentina’s situation and attributed austerity measures to the IMF debt inherited from the previous center-right administration. As the run-off approaches, the divisions between the candidates are likely to intensify, adding further obstacles to Argentina’s struggling economy. The winner of the run-off will face the daunting task of winning over a disillusioned electorate longing for improved living conditions.
What percentage of the vote did Sergio Massa win in the election?
Sergio Massa won over 36% of the vote.
Who will Sergio Massa face in the run-off?
Sergio Massa will face far-right candidate Javier Milei in the run-off.
What radical proposals did Javier Milei make during the campaign?
Javier Milei proposed scrapping the central bank, adopting the US dollar as Argentina’s currency, reducing government ministries, imposing stricter gun laws, and restricting access to abortion.
What concerns were raised about Milei’s proposals?
There were concerns that the dismantling of the social welfare state as proposed by Milei could have negative consequences for people’s quality of life.
What did Sergio Massa emphasize during his campaign?
Sergio Massa focused on defending the current government’s track record and attributed austerity measures to the IMF debt inherited from the previous center-right administration.