Sunday, December 10, 2023

ARGENTINA | 13-11-2023 15:42

‘There was a clear intention to provoke me’ – Milei on presidential debate

La Libertad Avanza candidate says his rival looked to "rile him up" with an "aggressive" approach; Libertarian also complains about coughing while he was talking.

Javier Milei complained on Monday that his presidential rival Sergio Massa had "a clear intention to provoke me” in the previous night's debate.

The televised face-off at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Law Faculty was the final encounter between the duo ahead of next week's second-round run-off. The duo clashed on a number of topics, with Massa forcing his rival into a series of yes or no responses on his controversial economic proposals, such as dollarising the economy and shuttering the Central Bank.

Speaking the following morning during a radio interview, Milei said that he was comfortable with his performance and that he managed to dismiss "all the elements of the [government's] fear campaign."

He said: “Massa consulted with psychologists to find elements to provoke me. He had elements and a series of works for this week to show me as irritable and now he’ll have to change it. He provoked me several times, he was very aggressive, but I stayed focused."

The La Libertad Avanza candidate admitted he has not slept since the encounter. In addition, he complained that “there was a last-minute change in the seating” and that Massa's "people were all on my side of the room."

"When I talked they all coughed," he complained.

According to Milei, what happened in the first section of debate, when Massa bombarded him with yes or no questions could also have been viewed as “a cunning play by us.”

However, he claimed that “by answering we took his lies apart one by one. We achieved our goals: mine was to prove all the falsehoods and elements of the fear campaign."

“When we reached the part about production and jobs, I slapped him with data and elements and took him apart. I know that probably people find it a minor thing, but to dismiss and prove his argument about fares wrong, his lies with numbers and how things don’t add up,” he stated.

“I scored about 50 goals against him,” declared the 53-year-old economist.

Asked how prepared he was for the face-off, Milei said: “I basically worked on it with people from my team, who I have been working with for years, and we added a speech therapist who helped me improve my body language and that kind of thing. I feel very comfortable at the lectern. I could have become histrionic, but I was a rock singer, I can handle those things. But the seriousness of the matter must be taken very seriously."

Milei then outlined his final week of campaigning ahead of next week's run-off.

“We’re planning two large caravans: Tuesday in Rosario. The close of the campaign in Córdoba on Thursday and two activities on Wednesday: the Inter-American Council for Trade and Production and Ezeiza in the afternoon. Today I’ll basically answer questions and give interviews to journalists I consider respectable," he said.




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