Left candidate on top against ‘anarcho-capitalist’ in Argentina’s presidential race
Sergio Massa, Economy Minister and presidential candidate for the ruling party, speaks outside his campaign headquarters after general elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023. | AP

Left candidate Sergio Massa won the most votes in Sunday’s Argentinian presidential election in a surprise result.

Economy Minister Massa, from the Union for the Homeland coalition, won around 36.7% of the vote while his main rival, far-right Javier Milei of the Freedom Advances alliance, scored 30% despite being widely tipped to win.

As no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the two leading candidates will go to a Nov. 19 run-off.

Massa’s first-round win came despite inflation surging to 140% on his watch and the currency tanking. He told voters that he inherited a bad situation exacerbated by a devastating drought that decimated the country’s exports, and reassured them that the worst was past.

Massa called for support from other parties for the second round.

He said: “I’m going to call for a government of national unity—a government of national unity built on the foundation of summoning the best individuals, regardless of their political affiliation.”

He also could find common interest with other long-serving public servants, many of whom have bristled at Milei’s candidacy.

The self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” who has often talked of his admiration for former U.S. President Donald Trump, was not able to build on the level of support he secured in the primary elections two months ago.

He has called for the scrapping of the country’s Central Bank, the replacement of the Argentine peso with the U.S. dollar, and a purge of what he calls the country’s “political caste.”

He told his supporters on Sunday night that “today is historic because two-thirds of Argentines voted for change.”

He has also cast himself as a crusader against what he calls the “sinister forces of socialism” at home and abroad.

He opposes sex education, feminist policies, and abortion, which is legal in Argentina. He also rejects the notion that humans have had a role in causing climate change.

In Sunday’s vote, Together for Change candidate Patricia Bullrich won just under 24%, Juan Schiaretti, from We Do for Our Country, scored 7.2%, and the leader of the Left Front and Workers-Unity, Myriam Bregman, won 2.7%.

Morning Star

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.