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A runoff will be needed in Argentina to elect the new president. On November 19th the challenge will pit the progressive Peronist Sergio Massa against the ultra-liberal Javier Milei. And the battle to win the votes of defeated opponents has already begun. The counting of the ballots in the first round of the presidential elections revealed the surprise of the victory of the centre-left leader of Union por la patria with 36.5% in the first round, and the anarcho-capitalist of Libertad Avanza in pursuit with 30%, in a reversal of the August general primaries and a new polarization in the country. The conservative Patricia Bullrich of Juntos por el Cambia is out of the contest for the Casa Rosada, with 23.8%. Votes that according to analysts could largely go to the far right.
What Bullrich will do
“We will not congratulate one of the ministers of the worst government this country has ever had,” Bullrich said, brushing aside any hypothesis of an understanding with Peronism. “Argentina must abandon populism if it wants to grow and put an end to poverty” the conservative commented, visibly moved. “We will never be their accomplices.” The great concern remains the uncertainty that will reign on the markets for another month, with new turbulence and exchange rate volatility, in a country with an economy in tatters, where inflation is galloping towards 140%, and the poverty is 40%.
Massa, the current Minister of Economy, has promised that there will not be a new devaluation of the peso anytime soon. And in his first speech after the vote he declared that in December, when he will be president, “he will convene a government of national unity that will put an end to the historic ‘grieta’ (deep division) among Argentines, and of wanting to choose people” on the basis of their qualities and “not of their political affiliation”. “I want to assure you that I will be a president who will work to give citizens more order, more security, less improvisation and clear rules, and above all – he added – that our children carry backpacks with books inside and not a weapon”. The progressive is convinced that he can drag the country out of the quagmire thanks to the development of the energy sector and raw materials such as lithium. He promises to “cancel the debt with the IMF”, and to focus on multilateralism, including entry into the Brics.
Due to a breakdown in relations with Beijing, Milei, a friend of Eduardo Bolsonaro, arrived to support him at the Sheraton Libertador in Buenos Aires, as did MEP Hermann Tertsch and the director of the Madrid Forum, Eduardo Cader of Vox. His recipe for the economy involves the closure of the Central Bank and thedollarization of the country. He promotes the privatization of healthcare, schools and transportation. Anti-abortion, he claims that climate change is a “farce of the left”. If elected, Milei wants to liberalize the sale of weapons and organs. In his speech commenting on the vote he addressed the voters of Bullrich inviting them to vote against Peronism. “In November we will have to choose between the continuity of this model which