There will be a runoff in the Argentine elections. With 98% of the ballots counted, Peronist Sergio Massa leads as the most voted candidate (36.65%), while the favorite, the populist Javier Milei (30.01%), will face Massa in the second round to be held on November 19.
The right-wing candidate Patricia Bullrich finally witnessed a significant drop in her support, receiving only 23.84% of the votes. Other candidates, who had little or no chance according to all the polls, were Juan Schiaretti (6.80%) and the leftist candidate Myriam Bregman (2.69%). The voter turnout in this first round was 77%.
Bullrich, the candidate from the Macri party, has already ruled out offering her support to Massa. “For years, Argentina has been sinking into decadence. We will never be accomplices to communism in Argentina or the mafias that have destroyed this country,” she stated after conceding defeat, alongside former President Mauricio Macri.
Macri’s support will be crucial in the runoff
Sergio Massa’s partial victory has been surprising, an unexpected twist in the script. All the electoral studies pointed to a clear victory for the far-right candidate Javier Milei. Some sources had even predicted a definitive first-round victory, something that can occur in Argentina if the winner of the first vote surpasses 45% of the votes or obtains 40% and at least 10% more than the second candidate. However, this possible victory had already been ruled out by Milei’s party.
The short 30-day period between the two rounds, scheduled for November 19, will be crucial to see how the votes of the other candidates who didn’t make it to the runoff will be distributed.
Especially important will be the over six million votes obtained by the big loser, the conservative Patricia Bullrich, who has denied support for Massa but hasn’t confirmed whether she will ask for votes for Javier Milei either. In fact, the right-wing candidate hasn’t even congratulated Sergio Massa for his surprising partial victory.
For his part, Milei wasted no time in seeking Macri’s support to defeat Massa on November 19. “Today is a historic day. While being cheered by his supporters chanting “president,” he declared, “Two-thirds of Argentinians voted for change, an alternative to this government of criminals who want to mortgage our future.
In this campaign, marked by the economic crisis, Javier Milei has proposed the dollarization of the Argentine economy as a measure to overcome the severe devaluation of the local currency, the Argentine peso.
Peronism regains hope
The big winner of the day, Sergio Massa, appeared after 11:00 PM, Argentine time, to celebrate the victory with his supporters. “I know that many of those who voted for us are the ones suffering the most. I won’t let you down,” the official candidate promised.
Argentina has been facing a severe economic crisis for years, with an annual inflation rate exceeding 140%, and the difficulties and extreme living conditions of the Argentine people have dominated the most uncertain electoral campaign of recent decades.
Almost 27 million Argentines, 77% of those eligible, have cast their votes to choose the successor to the Peronist Alberto Fernández, in a context of an economic crisis that began during the presidency of Mauricio Macri in 2018 and was exacerbated by President Fernández. This has led to a spectacular rise of the far-right in Argentina.
Is the Milei phenomenon deflating?
The until-now clear favorite to win the first round, Javier Milei, is an economist who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist.” His policies are considered far-right by political analysts.
Despite his defeat today, his chances of becoming the future Argentine president remain intact, and it will depend on his ability to attract votes from the traditional right, which is left without a candidate in the runoff. For some analysts, it will also be crucial to rebuild a team considered weak and overcome his excessively theatrical image for some voters.
Aligned with the policies of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, the former President of Brazil, Milei is an opponent of abortion, a climate change denier, which he categorizes as an invention of “cultural Marxism,” and supports the right to bear arms in his country. Regarding same-sex unions, Milei supports marriage equality, considering homosexuality as “a personal choice.”
The controversial Argentine politician began his public career in the media as a regular columnist in newspapers such as La Nación, El Cronista, and Infobae. For the past 10 years, he has made frequent appearances on television and radio, always with his characteristic histrionic and passionate style. He even hosted his own weekly radio show for a year.
He has engaged in bitter controversies with Peronist politicians, with leaders like Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and even with the Catholic Pope Francis, whom he accused of being “the embodiment of the devil.”
He entered politics in 2019, unsuccessfully attempting to be elected as a deputy the following year. He finally achieved his goal in December 2021, being designated as a deputy for Buenos Aires, as a staunch opponent of the Peronist President Alberto Fernández.
Colombian President’s Reaction
Colombian President Gustavo Petro, with whom Javier Milei has had various controversies and clashes on social media, seized the election results to share his message on his X account.
“Argentina defeated barbarism. It’s a time for hope. The choice is between barbarism and hope. Congratulations to the Argentine people,” the Colombian president wrote, clearly aligning himself with candidate Sergio Massa and defining Milei as representing “barbarism.”