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IMAGO / Xinhua

Country Reports

A leap into the unknown

Libertarian Javier Milei is the new president of Argentina

The winner of the run-off election for the office of President of Argentina is Javier Milei. The libertarian candidate from the La Libertad Avanza party, which was only founded two years ago, won a surprisingly clear victory with 55.69% of the vote and a lead of over 11% against the Peronist candidate and incumbent Minister of Economy and Finance Sergio Massa with 44.3%. In the general elections on October 22, the latter had been able to claim first place in the voters' favor with just under 37% of the vote and a 7% lead over Milei. Voter turnout was 76.35% and the proportion of abstentions was lower than expected at 1.55%, with 1.62% of votes being invalid. The Libertarian won in 20 of the 23 provinces and in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires. He probably also owes his clear victory to the support of prominent figures from the conservative Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party. Although their presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich did not make it into the run-off, almost 24% of voters had given her their vote in October. Just three days after the election, both former President Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich publicly spoke out in favor of Milei and against Massa. However, the initial euphoria over the election victory could quickly evaporate, even for the newly elected president, against the backdrop of the enormous challenges, particularly in economic policy.

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A grueling election campaign full of surprises

The only certainty that can be derived from the electoral thriller of recent months is that anything is politically possible in Argentina. After the Peronist government was severely punished in the 2021 mid-term parliamentary elections, the established opposition alliance Juntos por el Cambio, consisting of the Propuesta Republicana (PRO), Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) and Coalición Cívica (CC) parties, was certain of victory in the 2023 presidential elections. So certain, in fact, that the internal power struggle for the candidacy was fought fiercely and with all possible means until the primaries in August 2023. The eccentric outsider Javier Milei had clearly been underestimated and the internal squabbles had led to the external impact being criminally neglected. In the primaries, Milei surprisingly fought his way to first place, followed by Juntos por el Cambio (Patricia Bullrich) and Unión por la Patria (Sergio Massa). The voters seemed to have clearly spoken out in favour of change and against the incumbent Peronist government; all the more surprisingly, Sergio Massa prevailed in the elections on 22 October thanks to the mobilization of the entire Peronist machinery. Quite a few already saw him as the certain winner and so the outcome of the election remained uncertain until the last moment and the election campaign was highly exciting. But who is the future president Javier Milei and how did the political newcomer manage to inflict one of the worst electoral defeats in the history of powerful Peronism?

The full-length publication is only available in German.


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Susanne Käss

Susanne Käss bild

Head of KAS Argentina / Head of KAS Brazil (acting) +54 11 4326-2552


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