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ARGENTINA | 23-10-2023 11:34

Massa the big winner of an election result few saw coming

Patricia Bullrich was the big loser of a dramatic election night in Argentina. She was unable to seduce an electorate that ultimately did not consider her an option for "putting an end to populism.”

Sergio Massa's unexpected and sweeping victory on another night of celebration for Peronism makes him the big winner of a presidential election that produced a result that few saw coming.

"I ask for humility, [for] turning the other cheek, just as we swore we were going to turn it around, with commitment, with fervour for our country, embracing those who think differently, we are going to go neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood, house-by-house, factory-by-factory…  we are going to build a new majority. Long live the homeland, long live Argentina," Massa harangued party activists as he was almost moved to tears, a rare occurrence.

These presidential elections, as is always the case, produce big winners – and also important losers.

Patricia Bullrich was the big loser of the night. She was unable to seduce an electorate that ultimately did not consider her as an option to "put an end to populism.”

Although it is still too early to make a full analysis, there is a growing suspicion that Juntos por el Cambio, as the opposition has been known until now, and its days are numbered.

It is clear that many Radicals are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of sharing the same space with the hawks from the PRO, who identify with Mauricio Macri, another defeated individual on this night that surprised all and sundry.

Javier Milei, the libertarian with the bold discourse, can also be counted – not so much among the defeated, but at least among those who did not meet the expectations of thousands of enthusiastic young people who backed a proposal for profound transformation. In the end, Milei partly ended up scaring off the non-radicalised part of the electorate.

Milei will now seek the core PRO vote, because he knows that it is very difficult for the majority of Radical voters to support him. The total rupture with the Unión Cívica Radical came to an end when he criticised public education, spoke of a voucher system to replace it and criticised the CONICET scientific research council.

Cordoba Province Governor Juan Schiaretti, for his part, can also be counted among the winners from these elections. After his good performance in the presidential debates, and his fine reputation as a good administrator in Córdoba, he now has seven percent of the national vote, giving him weight when he sits down to talk with Massa, who has already winked at Schiaretti’s voters in his first speech after his victory.

Another winner of the election was Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof (the only candidate on a stage who thanked Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and remembered her support), who overwhelmingly defeated Néstor Grindetti of Juntos por el Cambio.

The Peronist governors of the north and the Peronist mayors of Buenos Aires Province’s famed Conurbano were also victorious, unlike in the PASO primary elections, in which the results were very different.

The La Cámpora political youth organisation, which saw its candidates win in Quilmes, Lanús and Ituzaingó, are also among the winners.

Left-winger Myriam Bregman delivered a bad election, not even making three percent of the vote in the presidential race, showing that the good performances of the candidate in the debates does not always translate to support at the ballot-box.

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by José Calero, Noticias Argentinas


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