Far-right presidential candidate Javier Milei (La Libertad Avanza, LLA) said Wednesday that he and former competitor Patricia Bullrich (Juntos por el Cambio, JxC) had allied ahead of the upcoming run-off because “getting to power is [the] priority.”
The libertarian economist said he believed he’d secure a majority by attracting all of Bullrich’s votes, but an early survey suggests this is unlikely.
“We forgave each other,” Milei said during an interview with TV channel TN, referring to insults and heated comments exchanged on the campaign trail. “It was sincere, and apologies were accepted.” His comments echoed Bullrich’s words in a press conference earlier in the day.
“I had a wonderful talk with Mrs. Bullrich at [Mauricio] Macri’s house,” Milei said, referring to the former president and leader of PRO, one of the largest parties in JxC, Bullrich’s conservative opposition coalition alliance. Milei and Macri had also met earlier that night.
Bullrich and former vice presidential candidate Luis Petri announced that they would back Milei’s presidential campaign in a personal capacity. Minutes earlier, the PRO party leadership had held an urgent meeting to define its position ahead of the run-off between Milei and Economy Minister Sergio Massa, but were unable to reach a consensus and decided that each member should express their own opinion.
The libertarian firebrand had previously accused Bullrich of being a guerrilla member and planting a bomb in a kindergarten, prompting her to file a criminal complaint. Milei did not apologize for the comments in a subsequent interview, even when asked directly. Bullrich said during a campaign event last week that Milei’s proposals were “bad and dangerous.”
Milei said that he agrees with “90% of [Bullrich’s] political agenda” and that if he had come third in the general elections, he would have decided to ally with the opposition candidate who performed the best. “Naturally, we have our differences, that’s why we didn’t run together, but in front of us we have populism, inflation, corruption,” he said.
The LLA candidate said that before the political campaign officially started, he had invited Bullrich and Macri to create a new coalition together, but they refused. “I said that that alliance would win in the first round,” Milei remarked.
Milei added that the sum of their votes, 53%, “is the minimum” he expects to receive on the November 19 run-off and that two thirds of the electorate voted for change, referring to the votes gathered by the other two candidates, non-Kirchnerist Peronist Juan Schiaretti and leftist leader Myriam Bregman. Massa is the candidate of ruling Peronist coalition Unión por la Patria.
Despite the libertarian’s optimism, it is unlikely that everyone who voted for Bullrich and the smaller candidates will vote for Milei in the run-off. A survey by the consultancy Proyección conducted in the two days after the ballot showed that 24% of Bullrich voters would vote for Milei, 14% for Massa, 20% were undecided, and the remaining 42% would spoil their ballot or not show up to vote.
Only 10% of Bregman and 11% of Schiaretti voters said they’d vote for Milei. Overall, 45% of respondents said they’d vote for Massa and 34% for Milei in the run-off. The poll was conducted before Bullrich formally backed Milei.
Although he complimented Macri’s 2015-2019 government and Bullrich’s tenure as security minister in that administration, Milei said he wants to make deeper changes than they did.
“I won’t put my banners down. I think the Central Bank should not exist because I think monetary emission is a scam,” Milei said. “When I hear Dr. Bullrich saying she doesn’t want to emit, it’s a point of agreement [between us].”
Bullrich was sitting at a table on the other side of the studio as Milei spoke, and gave an interview after the libertarian finished. They briefly met in the TV studio, hugged, and posed for pictures together, looking uncomfortable. “I wish you a good government,” Bullrich told him, and he responded: “Thank you, we started quite a revolution.”
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