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Argentina marks its future in open elections inflamed by the deep antagonism of Massa and Milei

Milei's coalition stirs up conspiracy theories a few days before the second round with unfounded accusations of electoral fraud.

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Argentina marks its future in open elections inflamed by the deep antagonism of Massa and Milei

Milei's coalition stirs up conspiracy theories a few days before the second round with unfounded accusations of electoral fraud


Argentines go this Sunday to vote in a second round of the very open elections, with the ruling party Sergio Massa and the far-right candidate Javier Milei separated by just a few points, according to the latest polls, and in the midst of a climate inflamed by the antagonism of both options and accusations from the opposition warning of electoral fraud.

According to the last ten surveys compiled by the newspaper 'La Nación', Milei emerges as the winner in six of them, for the four that speak of a victory this Sunday, the 19th of Massa. This study also reflects an average of 2.9 percent blank votes and 2.5 percent undecided votes.

Where there does seem to be a certain consensus is in the good work of Massa to the detriment of Milei during last Sunday's debate, the last of the events of a campaign in which, like the televised face-to-face, there has been more prominence for the reproaches and criticisms between one and the other than for the proposals for these next four years.

Massa, with a moderate tone, knew how to impose his rhythm in a face to face in which Milei was seen with a certain passivity, without knowing very well how to address the issues that would have put the still Minister of Economy in trouble, such as the economic crisis. and the deep deficit that Argentina is dragging.

To close the campaign, both once again showed their differences in style, Milei, accompanied by the traditional right-wing candidate in the first round, Patricia Bullrich, took a crowd bath in Córdoba - a key province for his aspirations -, where some One of his acolytes took the chainsaw out for a walk, while Massa opted for something much more discreet, meeting with business groups and students at a public school in Buenos Aires.

The closing of the campaign has also been marked by the attacks that Milei's coalition has directed against the Argentine electoral system, launching unfounded suspicions about electoral fraud, reminiscent of those of some of its counterparts in the region, such as the former Brazilian president. Jair Bolsonaro.

Standard bearer of the so-called libertarians, Milei has focused the campaign on pointing out traditional politics and its ruling class, which he defines as caste, as mainly responsible for Argentina's ills. However, Patricia Bullrich's support after the first round has caused him to tone down his tone.

In social matters, Milei leaves no room for doubt and has already made it clear, sometimes with more histrionics than is assumed of a political leader, that if it were up to him he would reduce the role of the State to the point of justifying voting against a law that detects congenital heart disease in babies before birth because it would mean more public spending.

"I am a libertarian liberal, philosophically, I am a market anarchist," he once said. He has been against abortion, even if the pregnancy comes from rape, but he does think it is a good idea to create a market to promote the buying and selling of organs. He defends dollarizing the economy and has questioned the official figure of 30,000 disappeared during the last dictatorship.

One of his latest controversies has been his defense during Sunday's debate of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for whom he has always felt a great affinity and whom he described as a "great leader", which has caused rejection, for example, of groups of veterans of the Falklands War.

For his part, Massa has been dealing with the paradox of being responsible for the finances of a country that is going through one of its worst economic moments and a strong candidate who aspires to be in power for another four years, appealing again to in a particular way to the working class, the sector that Peronism traditionally turns to in order to get votes.

This Sunday's event is marked by the surprise of the results of the first electoral round, in which the predictions of a winning Milei - as in the August primaries - were blown up when Massa managed to get almost seven percentage points.

Thus, in this second round it also remains to be seen how the mobilization due to rejection caused by both candidates will influence and who will be chosen by the 23 percent who voted in the first round for Patricia Bullrich, who by announcing her support for Milei triggered a rupture with some parties that formed the Together for Change coalition, which declared themselves neutral, as well as the rest of the forces.

The Union for the Homeland of Sergio Massa achieved more than 9.6 million votes in the first round thanks in part to its great result in the province of Buenos Aires, one of the regions with the largest population and whose sum exceeded the combined results of Bullrich and Milei.

Peronism maintained its electoral hegemony, but lost support compared to the previous elections, with those parts of the country with lower incomes being its main source of votes, while the 8 million votes that La Libertad Avanza obtained from the far-right Milei were more transversal.

Whoever manages to move to Casa Rosada, will have to deal with the umpteenth financial crisis in a country whose inflation is expected to once again exceed historical highs and in the midst of a strong polarization resulting from the emergence of that ultraliberal and conservative third way that Milei represents. .

In Argentina, voting is mandatory, except for exceptions contemplated by law and which the voter must in any case justify. Failure to attend implies a fine and, in case of non-payment, disqualification from carrying out proceedings before official organizations for a whole year.

The obligation to vote does not apply in the case of expatriated Argentines. In Spain, more than 110,000 citizens are called to the polls in six different centers, distributed according to the different consulates: Barcelona is the most crowded, with 47,000 potential voters, while Madrid concentrates about 34,000.