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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s ruling Peronist coalition smashed expectations to lead the country’s general election on Sunday, October 22, setting the stage for a polarized run-off vote next month between Economy Minister Sergio Massa and far-right libertarian radical Javier Milei.
Massa had around 36% of the vote, ahead of Milei on just over 30%, while conservative Patricia Bullrich was behind on 23.7% with some 80% of the vote counted, a result that defied pre-election polls that had predicted a libertarian win.
Argentines had flocked to the polls on Sunday to vote in a tense national election where wild-haired outsider Milei has hogged the limelight amid the country’s worst economic crisis in two decades and rising anger with the traditional elite.
Many had blamed Massa and the ruling Peronists, who though had shot back that their social safety nets and subsidies were key for many hard-up Argentines, including a recent stunt showing how train and bus fares could rise sharply if he lost.
“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, 61, as he went to vote on Sunday.
Massa’s success comes despite overseeing inflation hitting triple digits for the first time since 1991. He has said he will cut the fiscal deficit, stick with the peso and defend the Peronist social welfare safety net.
To win outright on Sunday, a candidate would have needed over 45% of the vote or 40% and a 10-point lead. – Rappler.com