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Country Reports

Argentina before the elections

The hope for a turnaround

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Argentina on 22 October. The country, which has been plagued by debt and economic crises for decades, seems to have reached a low point in the perception of its citizens, with inflation at 125%, a poverty rate of 44% and a chronic shortage of foreign currency and the accompanying shortage of imported goods. Anger at the traditional political elites who have run down Argentina, once one of the richest countries in the world, is high. The mood before the elections oscillates between desperate, heated and hopeful of "things can only get better" and "things can't get worse". Despite years of hardship, many people still believe that the country, rich in raw materials, natural gas, oil and lithium, can prosper again if properly managed.

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The positioning of the candidates after the primaries on 13 August

On Sunday, 13 August, the Primarias Abiertas, Simultáneas y Obligatorias, or PASO for short, took place in Argentina. Since 2009, the parties' candidates for the parliamentary and presidential elections have been determined in the open primaries, which are compulsory for all citizens eligible to vote. Surprisingly, and contrary to all opinion polls, the winner of the primaries, with 29.86% of the vote, was Javier Milei, leader of the libertarian party he founded, La Libertad Avanza. The opposition alliance Juntos por el Cambio, which won 28% of the vote with two candidates, chose Patricia Bullrich, leader of the Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party until the beginning of the official campaign, as its presidential candidate after a bitter internal power struggle. The Peronists were able to win over 27.28% of the voters with their electoral alliance Unión por la Patria; the presidential candidate is now the incumbent Minister of Economy and Finance, Sergio Massa. The party Hacemos por Nuestro País with Juan Schiaretti (3.71%) and the left-wing alliance Frente de Izquierda, which nominated Myriam Bregman as candidate, also reached the 1.5% hurdle. This number of votes is a prerequisite for a party to be admitted to the elections.

Although the primaries primarily serve to select candidates and do not yet determine the real balance of power in the country as of 10 December, they are an important gauge of the political mood in the country. The losers of the primaries are clearly the Peronists, who achieved a historically bad result and surprisingly lost many votes among their own clientele to Javier Milei, but Juntos por el Cambio was also clearly punished for the discussions revolving around itself and the candidate question. Javier Milei's good election result has succeeded in changing the political debates in the country and setting the issues in the election campaign to which the other candidates merely react like driven men. However, whether he will really emerge victorious, as suddenly assumed in many opinion polls and by analysts, is difficult to predict in a country where polls have been wrong in all elections held during the year. Despite compulsory voting, voter turnout was only 69%, a historic low. A much higher turnout can be expected on 22 October and thus all candidates can still hope to win. Due to the emerging balance of power, a victory in the first round is unlikely, for which a candidate would have to achieve more than 45% of the votes or more than 40% with a gap of at least 10% to the runner-up. If no one succeeds, a run-off election will be held on 19 November.

 

The full-length publication is only available in German.

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Contact

Susanne Käss

Susanne Käss bild

Head of KAS Argentina / Head of KAS Brazil (acting)

susanne.kaess@kas.de +54 11 4326-2552

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