Argentina’s election saga: surprising first round unveiled

Argentina’s election saga: surprising first round unveiled
Argentina's election

The initial phase of Argentina’s elections has reached its conclusion, with local polling stations shuttering their doors promptly at 6 PM. An astonishing 74% of eligible voters turned out, demonstrating a substantial upswing from the obligatory primary elections held on August 13th.

Over 35 million Argentinians exercised their democratic right, collectively determining the path for their nation’s leadership. This role will endure until December 2027.

In tandem with the presidential race, this election will usher in a transformation within the country’s national Congress, with 130 deputies and 24 senators slated to represent the diverse regions of eight provinces.

Milei’s ambitious vision and Argentina’s election drama

The main contenders for victory include the ultra-liberal candidate, Javier Milei, from La Libertad Avanza (Lla). Other prominent candidates are the progressive Peronist Sergio Massa from Union por la Patria (Uxp) and the conservative Patricia Bullrich from Juntos por el cambio (Jxc).

Milei’s aspiration to secure a first-round victory is making waves. This political outsider has pledged to “terminate the entire corrupt and ineffective political establishment” and “abolish the central bank”. They also favor the American dollar as the cornerstone of the state’s economy. Milei, a climate change skeptic, believes he can “overthrow the political elite in a single round” with his “nationwide liberal agenda”. His plan also involves ending state subsidies through the privatization of hospitals, schools, and transportation.

Argentina’s election saga: first round concludes with surprises

But what do the polls indicate? Despite Milei’s bold claims, the election’s outcome remains uncertain. According to polling data, the progressive Peronist Sergio Massa of Union por la Patria (Uxp) closely trails Milei with a slim margin. On the other hand, the conservative Patricia Bullrich of Juntos por el cambio (Jxc) also closely trails Milei with a slim margin.

The role of undecided voters

Undecided voters, estimated at 10% to 12%, are set to play a pivotal role. To secure the Casa Rosada (the presidential palace), a candidate must garner 45% of the vote or achieve 40% with a 10% lead over their closest rival. Otherwise, a runoff election will be held on November 19, just a month away.

What’s fueling Milei’s ascent?

The surge in Milei’s popularity can be attributed to the backdrop of a nation grappling with a severe economic crisis, marked by a staggering inflation rate of 140%. The political class is under scrutiny for allegedly pushing Argentina to the brink. Milei has labeled it a “corrupt caste” in need of dismantling. He has even brandished a chainsaw during his rallies to emphasize his stance.

Milei’s ideas have gained international support. Representatives from the Spanish Vox party and Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the sons of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accompanied him during the vote tally at Buenos Aires’ Sheraton Libertador Hotel.