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Far-right candidate Javier Milei won the second round of the presidential election in Argentina on Sunday, November 19, after a tense and indecisive campaign unlike any in forty years of democracy. His rival, the centrist Sergio Massa, admitted his defeat.
Javier Milei gathered 55.95% of the votes against 44.05% for Sergio Massa, according to initial partial results communicated by the general secretariat of the presidency after the counting of more than 86% of the ballots.
Javier Milei, 53 years old, “is the president that the majority of Argentines have elected for the next four years”, declared Mr. Massa, the current Minister of the Economy, who came first in the first round on October 22. Shortly before the partial official results were announced, he told supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters in Buenos Aires that he had called Javier Milei to “congratulate him and wish him good luck”.
The undecided, around 10% according to estimates, held the key to deciding between Massa, who had gathered 37% of the votes in the first round, and Milei (30%).
Polling stations closed at 6 p.m., with a turnout of 76%. Some 36 million Argentines were asked to decide between two completely opposed future projects.
On one side, Sergio Massa, 51, minister of the economy for sixteen months of a Peronist executive (center left) from which he has gradually distanced himself. This experienced politician had promised a “government of national unity” and a gradual economic recovery, preserving the welfare state, crucial in Argentine culture.
A climate polemicist
Facing him, Javier Milei, 53, a far-right economist, describes himself as “anarcho-capitalist”. This television polemicist emerged in politics only two years ago. Determined to rid the power of a supposed « caste parasite », he shows himself determined to “cut off” l’“enemy state” and dollarize the economy. The new Argentine president is also an outspoken climate skeptic, for whom climate change is a « cycle »not the responsibility of man.
Latin America’s third largest economy is going through a difficult period, with chronic inflation, now at three figures (143% over one year), four out of ten Argentines below the poverty line, worrying debt and a currency that is falling. Argentines are exhausted by prices that climb from month to month, even from week to week, when wages fall. The minimum wage is 146,000 pesos ($400). Rents are out of reach for many, and many mothers resort to barter, as after the Gran Crisis so traumatic in 2001. According to a study by the University of Buenos Aires published at the beginning of the year, 68% of young people aged 18 to 29 would emigrate if they could.
The country is under pressure from the budgetary rebalancing objectives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to which Argentina is painfully repaying a colossal loan of 44 billion dollars granted in 2018.
Insinuations of fraud
Javier Milei magnetized a vote « anger » (anger), but his rhetoric, his desire to dry up public spending in a country where 51% of Argentines receive social assistance or his plan to “deregulate the firearms market” were also frightened. Also the candidate ” anti-system “ he had lowered his voice between the two turns. Fewer appearances, less clear-cut, and a message: “Vote without fear, because fear paralyzes and benefits the status quo. »
Adding to the ambient nervousness, the Milei camp has in recent weeks distilled insinuations of fraud, without a complaint being filed. “Beware of very bad examples of (Donald) Trump et de (Jair) Bolsonaro » who promoted such messages, or “did not accept the results”warned Sergio Massa.
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Mr. Milei, welcomed at his polling station on Sunday to cries of “Freedom, freedom! “, had assured that his camp was “good, very calm, despite the fear campaign” against him. Mr. Massa, for his part, called on Argentines to vote “in reflection, serenity, calm”and with ” hope “. They made another choice.
We update regularly World Latest Breaking Business News here. We update 2023-11-20 05:00:01 this news story from official website – https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2023/11/20/elections-en-argentine-le-candidat-ultraliberal-et-antisysteme-javier-milei-elu-president_6201137_3210.html.”
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