Argentina Historic Event Election Result November Runoff Vote
Argentina's economic minister, Mr. Massa, won the first round of the presidential election, defeating firebrand economist Mr. Milei.
Argentina's economic minister, Mr. Massa, emerged as the frontrunner in the country's recent election, securing 36.7 percent of the popular vote. However, his victory was met with surprise as he presided over a period of severe economic decline in Argentina. His opponent, the firebrand economist Mr. Milei, received 30 percent of the vote and gained global attention for his radical proposals to revive the stagnant economy.
Mr. Milei's proposed actions include eliminating the central bank, cutting unnecessary government spending, and adopting the U.S. dollar as the national currency. These ideas have sparked intense debate among Argentinians.
In a speech delivered at Hotel Libertador, Mr. Milei characterized the election as a choice between "freedom" and what he called "nefarious Kirchnerism." Cristina Kirchner, the current Vice President and former president, has long been associated with the Peronism party and has both loyal supporters and fervent critics.
Many blame Kirchnerism for the country's economic crisis, as Kirchner advocated for raising taxes on the working class and expanding welfare subsidies. Mr. Milei expressed hope that the election would mark the end of Kirchnerism and the Peronist regime.
The election was a blow to Peronism, with the lowest voter turnout since 1983. Some Argentinians, like Alvaro Gomez, believe that people are fed up with the current state of politics in the country.
On one hand, Mr. Massa represents a legacy of economic failures and broken promises associated with Peronism. On the other hand, Mr. Milei's radical ideas and proposed reforms are seen as risky in a country on the verge of economic collapse.
The severity of Argentina's economic crisis has led many locals to take preemptive measures to protect their assets. Ahead of the election, there was a significant sell-off of stocks and a rush to acquire U.S. dollars in the currency black markets.
The outcome of the election will have ripple effects on financial markets, but Argentina's situation is particularly unique due to the magnitude of its economic crisis and the highly polarized nature of the election.
If Mr. Massa wins, he may attempt to establish political hegemony within the Peronist party, potentially distancing himself from the influence of Cristina Kirchner. However, some remain skeptical that meaningful change will occur under Peronist leadership.
Whoever wins the election will inherit a collapsed economy and face the daunting task of addressing its imbalances and holes. The nation's U.S. dollar bonds have continued to decline, making Argentina one of the worst-performing emerging economies.
In the November final round, Mr. Milei will face off against the candidate supported by the pro-China Peronist regime. The future of Argentina's relations with its top trade partners, the United States and China, is uncertain.
Mr. Milei has been vocal about his opposition to making pacts with communists, indicating a potential shift in relations with China if he were to win. However, Mr. Massa is expected to prioritize Beijing over the United States and deepen cooperation with the BRICS trade bloc.
Despite the outcome of the election, analysts believe that business as usual is unlikely. The Peronists may need to adopt a more pro-Western approach and distance themselves from certain policies associated with the Putin regime.
Ultimately, Argentinians will have to decide whether they fear a known past with Mr. Massa or an unknown future with Mr. Milei. The election presents a choice between the fears of the past and the fears of the future.