Argentina’s general election is heading towards a “run-off” voting held next month. This came after the current ruling party, Personists smashed the expectations to lead once again. The polarised run-off elections held next month will be between Economy Minister Sergio Massa and far-right libertarian radical Javier Milei. Massa had 36.6% of the vote, ahead of Milei on just over 30%, while conservative Patricia Bullrich was behind on 23.8% with near 98% of the vote counted, a result that defied pre-election polls that had predicted a libertarian win.
The country was shocked the sudden surge of votes for Personists considering the all time high inflation. The polls do see Mieli coming out victorious in the Run-Off elections, but the people still seem to be scared about their economic conditions. Argentina not only suffers economically but also climatically. The country under-went historical number of droughts rendering the food prices to sky-rocket.
“I know that many of those who voted for us are the ones who are suffering the most,” Massa said after the results. “Our country is experiencing a complex, difficult situation, full of challenges to face. I am not going to fail them.” Many citizens have harsh feelings for Personists but Massa, a moderate managed to ask government some questions which they were unable to cope up with; including the recent stunt where he showcased how the Argentines could face a sharp rise in public transport if he lost.
Sergio Massa, REUTERS
A runoff election is when a second election must be held because the first election did not reach the necessary threshold of votes needed for a candidate to win. This can happen in a general or primary election. In a nutshell, when the candidates fail to reach the majority seats and there is no chance of a coalition government, the country has to prepare for another election, which is called Run-Off elections. It will always be held between the top 2 candidates. In this case, Run-Off elections will be held between Sergio Massa and Javier Milei.
What the Argentines feel?
Failed governance in the south-american country has the citizens in a dilemma about the current elections and more pre-dominantly the candidates. Milei promised the citizens to “chainsaw” the current economical and political status quo rendering some angry voters to personate anger; fed up with rising prices outstripping salaries. “He is the only one who understands the situation in the country and understands how to save it,” said Buenos Aires student Nicolas Mercado, 22.
Voters are angry at traditional parties for failing to address the Latin American nation’s ailing economy for decades.
A sense of apprehension was evident on the streets of Argentina in the days before the election. People with any disposable income snapped up goods in anticipation of a possible currency devaluation, recalling that the government devalued the Peso nearly by 20% the day after the August primaries. Argentines also bought dollars and removed hard currency deposits from banks as the peso accelerated its already steady depreciation.
Milei, in a defiant speech after the result, said he would fight on to win in the second round next month. “We are faced with the most important election of the last 100 years,” he said. “If we work together we can win, if we work together we can recover our country.”
Election authorities publicised some data about public voting. The turnout was around 74%, up from the August primaries, but considerably lower than the 81% participation at the last election and the lowest general election turnout since the nation attained democracy in 1983.
Whoever emerges as the triumphant has an enormous economical hurdle to jump as the Argentine economy is currently on life-support and the reserves are “zero-to-none”. The $44 Billion fund from International Monetary Fund (IMF) is unstable as the nation suffers from heavy recession.
Silvana Dezilio, 37, a housewife in Buenos Aires province, said it was hard to see a positive outcome whoever won. “All governments promise things and end up sinking us a little more. It seems unbelievable, but we are getting worse and worse. We read that other countries have overcome the problems that for us are getting worse every day,” she said.
Amid challenges from everywhere Argentina looks up to its candidates with some glimmer of optimism and hope that the government would work for the betterment of the citizens.