Victorious Massa seeks broad coalition in November run-off

After surprising onlookers by coming first, the Peronist economy minister promised to strengthen local industry, boost public education, and transcend the political divide

In a triumphant but measured speech, Economy Minister Sergio Massa promised “a new stage for Argentine politics” that would transcend the country’s political divide. He was speaking to a crowd of whooping fans at the ruling Unión por la Patria (UxP) bloc’s campaign headquarters after his surprise victory in the first round of the presidential elections. 

“I want to tell you because I know that many of those who voted for us are those who are suffering the most — I will not fail you,” Massa said, describing the moment as a time for “reflection.”

He appealed to citizens who spoiled their ballots, didn’t vote, or voted for anti-Kirchnerist Peronist Juan Schiaretti, leftist Myriam Bregman, and the UCR — the centrist party within Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), the main opposition bloc, which is now out of the race. 

He said that UxP shared principles with the UCR such as democratic values, support for public education, the importance of the independence of the powers, and the construction of institutional values. 

“I want to build a homeland that will give the certainty that our children can go to school with a laptop in their backpacks, not a gun in their backpacks,” he said, in an apparent dig at opponent Javier Milei’s promises to liberalize gun controls and privatize Argentina’s education system.

He promised that a Massa government would be a “unity government” that would privilege Argentine industry over “indiscriminate openness to imports,” strengthen public education over the voucher system Milei has proposed, and create modern labor legislation that accounts for new technology while preserving hard-won labor rights.

At the end of his speech, he invited his family and running-mate Agustín Rossi, the current chief of staff, onto the stage.

Addressing a sea of party supporters outside, he called on Peronist bases to “turn the other cheek” in the face of possible provocations from the opposition in the period leading up to the November 19 run-off and promised to attempt to organize for Pope Francis to visit Argentina.

He also called on them to continue campaigning to consolidate his victory in the final vote.

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