Argentina’s presidential candidates are preparing for the first televised debate of the election campaign this Sunday (October 1) as what looks to be a three-way race enters the final stretch.
The face-to-face encounter will take place at the national university of Santiago del Estero at the Centro de Convenciones Provincial Forum. A second encounter will follow on Sunday, October 8, at the Law School of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).
As per Law 27,337, approved in 2016, there must be two free-to-air debates staged between 20 and 7 days prior to a major election. If there is a run-off, a third debate must be organised between the final two candidates.
The following candidates will take part in both debates: Javier Milei (La Libertad Avanza, liberal and libertarian alliance), Sergio Massa (Unión por la Patria, ruling Peronist coalition), Patricia Bullrich (Juntos por el Cambio, right-wing opposition coalition), Juan Schiaretti (Hacemos por Nuestro País, ‘third-way’ centrists) and Myriam Bregman (Frente de Izquierda y Trabajadores-Unidad, left-wing front).
According to the rules established by the DINE National Electoral Chamber, each candidate will begin with a one-minute presentation and must then discuss three core topics, one of which is selected by citizens. Presidential hopefuls will have two minutes to elaborate on their proposals in these sections.
One of the novelties of this exchange will be the possibility of a “right to reply” encounter, which may be requested up to five times. There will also be a segment between candidates where they face off against each other: one may ask a question to each of their contenders and a response must be provided in 45 seconds. The number of times each rival can be chosen is limited.
In the final section, candidates will have one minute to offer their closing statements.
Each must be prepared to discuss the economy, education, and thirdly, the topic chosen by the citizenry, human rights and democratic cohabitation.
As for the all-important line-up, Bregman will be at the first lectern, followed by Massa, Bullrich, Schiaretti and finally Javier Milei. The lecterns will be laid out from left to right on the television screen. The left-winger will be the first one to take the floor, followed by the candidates from La Libertad Avanza, Unión por la Patria, Juntos por el Cambio and Hacemos por Nuestro País in that order.
The second presidential debate will take place on October 8 at the UBA Law Faculty. The dynamic will be similar, although the topics to focus on will be security, employment and production – as well as following up on clashes that happened in the first debate.
In the event of a run-off, a final debate between the two remaining candidates for the Casa Rosada will be held on November 12.