Argentina 2023 elections: Dramatic shift as Massa takes lead, goes to run-off with Milei

In a major U-turn from the primaries, the Economy Minister is set to face libertarian economist Milei in a run-off

Unión por la Patria (UxP) candidate and Economy Minister Sergio Massa is headed to a run-off against Javier Milei, early results from Sunday’s presidential elections show. The ruling coalition candidate received the most votes but failed to clear the threshold for an outright win.

At 10:13 p.m., Massa was leading with 36.3% of the vote, Javier Milei of La Libertad Avanza (LLA) had 30.2% and Patricia Bullrich of the opposition bloc Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) stood third with 23.8%.

The results mark a dramatic shift from August’s primaries when the ruling coalition came third. Milei, a far-right libertarian who campaigned on dollarizing the economy, closing down the central bank, loosening gun restrictions, and shuttering whole government ministries shocked the nation by coming first in the August vote. Current opposition bloc Juntos por el Cambio came second.

Massa’s victory comes at a challenging time for Argentina’s economy, with yearly inflation running at 138% and poverty at over 40%.

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“We had promised that when we had consolidated results we would share them with you, and that happened before we expected,” said Julio Vitobello, general secretary of the presidency, in a brief address from the counting center of Argentine Post. “The work done [today] has been very good. It was an exemplary day for Argentine democracy.”

To win in the first round, candidates need more than 45% of the vote, or more than 40% with a 10 percentage point advantage over the runner up. 

If the current trend holds, the run-off will be held on November 19.

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