Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—Argentina’s Peronists, who have led the country since 2019, performed surprisingly well in this weekend’s presidential elections. Current president Alberto Fernández stepped aside and allowed Economy Minister Sergio Massa to represent the incumbent party. Massa received 36.6% of the vote on Sunday, while far-right libertarian Javier Milei received just over 30%, and conservative Patricia Buttrich received 23.8% of the vote.
Because no candidate received over 45% of the vote, the elections will proceed to a run-off pitting Massa against Milei, scheduled for November 19. Polls had foreseen that Milei, whose extreme-right campaign has included such promises as replacing Argentina’s peso with the US dollar, would win the first round.
Massa performed well in the election despite acting as the minister of economy who has overseen triple-digit inflation in Argentina. The country has struggled to rebound from the pandemic under the burden of usurious loans handed by the IMF to the previous president, Mauricio Macri (2015-19). Milei, on the other hand, promised a radical transformation of Argentina’s economy in which the central bank would be shuttered and the country would turn away from major trading partners such as China.
“Peronism is the only space that offers the possibility that the poorest of us can have basic things at our fingertips,” said bricklayer Carlos Gutierrez before voting, reported Reuters.
Voter turnout was relatively low. Argentina’s electoral authorities reported that 74% of voters participated, the lowest turnout in a presidential election in 40 years.
The winner of the presidential election will take office on December 10.
Special by Orinoco Tribune staff
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