In the second round of voting, Argentines choose between two candidates with extremely different views. They are the moderate left-wing Peronist, current Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, and the economic ultra-liberal, Javier Milei, who proposes the “dollarization” of the Argentine economy.
In the first round elections presidential w Argentina, which took place on October 23, Sergio Massa received 36.6 percent of the support and Javier Milei – 30 percent. None of them he did not receive enough votes to win.
Massa is the current Minister of Economy and a representative of the ruling center-left Peronist coalition. Milei is sometimes called an outsider and a far-right populist, but he describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist.
Massa has spent recent weeks trying to draw voters’ attention to Milea’s volatile nature rather than to his government’s economic failures, which have left four in 10 Argentines in poverty and inflation increased to over 140 percent – wrote the British daily “The Guardian”.
“Mini-Trum” withdraws some slogans
Javier Milei, leader of the far-right populist movement La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Comes Forward), called in his election campaign for a revision of values inherited from Peronism, such as equality of citizens and social justice, but towards the end of the campaign he began to back away from his most polemical election slogans.
These included, among others, universal access to firearms for citizens or changes in the law that would allow free market trade in human organs for transplants.
The American newspaper “New York Times”, just before the first round of elections, called him “mini-Trump”, emphasizing that the potential successor of the current Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez “has already turned the politics of the country of 46 million people upside down”. “His promises to liquidate the Central Bank of Argentina and abandon the Argentine peso in favor of the US dollar dominated the national debate and contributed to a further decline in the value of the national currency,” the NYT noted at the time.
A common slogan, dictated by moods
Despite extremely different views on the economy and politics, the politicians running for the highest office in the country were united by the slogan during the election campaign: “We demand change!” dictated by the mood of widespread dissatisfaction with the authorities in society.
Both camps also presented an almost equally critical attitude towards the results of the government of the outgoing Argentine president, Peronist Alberto Fernandez, which resulted in the highest inflation in Latin America, which amounted to 142.7 percent on an annual basis, more than a 200 percent increase dollar exchange rate and the impoverishment of society by over 40 percent (according to calculations by the sociology department of the prestigious Catholic University of Argentina – UCA).
Choosing the “lesser evil”
“Many Argentines were not convinced by any of the candidates. Some of them described the vote as choosing the “lesser of two evils”: fear of Milea’s painful economic recovery or anger at Massa due to the economic crisis. Many citizens said they would not vote at all,” the agency reported Reuters.
– I’m terrified of Milea’s politics and that’s why I’m voting for Massa, not because of my beliefs. “As they say, the bad you know is better,” said 42-year-old teacher Susana Martinez.
– Milei is the only real chance for us not to fall into poverty – said Santiago Neria, a 34-year-old accountant.
– None of the candidates gives me faith in the future – commented Josefina Valente, a 63-year-old retiree who voted in Buenos Aires.
“Whoever wins will shake up Argentina’s political landscape, its economic plan, its trade in grain, lithium and hydrocarbons, and its ties with China, the United States, Brazil and other countries,” Reuters said.
No decisive advantage
According to the latest pre-election reports pollsJavier Milei, who ran his campaign under the slogan “Another Argentina is not possible with those who have always been”, did not gain a decisive advantage over the “pragmatic Peronist” Sergio Massa in the last days of the election campaign.
PAP, Reuters, The Guardian
Main photo source: JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI/PAP/EPA