Will Argentina have a new president-elect today?

Presidential candidates need to reach a certain percentage of votes to win in the second round. Otherwise, there will be a run-off

Argentina is voting for a new president on Sunday after four years of Alberto Fernández’s administration. But will we find out who the next president is on the same day, or will we have to wait?

Five candidates are in the race: Javier Milei (La Libertad Avanza, LLA), Sergio Massa (Unión por la Patria, UxP), Patricia Bullrich (Juntos por el Cambio, JxC), Juan Schiaretti (Hacemos por Nuestro País, HNP) and Myriam Bregman (Frente de Izquierda-Unidad, FIT-U).

In Argentina’s presidential elections, candidates need more than 45% of the votes, or at least 40% with a 10-point lead, to be elected in the first round. If none of this happens, the two most-voted candidates will go to a run-off on November 19.

In the August 13 primaries, the top three coalitions were close in terms of votes: LLA won with close to 30%, JxC came second with 28.3%, and UxP third with 27.3%. If these percentages are replicated on Sunday, there will be a second round in November.

The rules of the eventual run-off are not the same as the general elections: candidates don’t have to reach a certain percentage of votes. Whoever gets more votes will become president. There also won’t be any other national categories on the ballot, only the presidential ones, since the rest will be defined on Sunday.

While Milei was the only LLA presidential candidate, both of the other main coalitions had two candidates competing against each other in the primaries. Bullrich was running against Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in JxC — who would become her Chief of Staff if elected — and Massa against social leader Juan Grabois in UxP.

Although both JxC candidates combined got more votes than UxP, Massa was the second most-voted individual candidate, surpassing Bullrich by one million votes. It is not yet clear how this will translate into the general election results.

Regardless of whether there is a run-off or not, Sunday’s election is key because it will define the makeup of Congress next year. Half of the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate will be renewed. Deputies from each province are assigned via the D’Hondt system, which uses a proportional formula. Meanwhile, eight provinces will be voting for senators on Sunday, with three elected per province — two for the coalition with the most votes, one for the runner-up.

If the primary elections’ results are replicated on Sunday, Milei would enter office with around 40 deputies and eight senators. For comparison, the ruling coalition, UxP, currently has 118 out of 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 31 out of 72 seats in the Senate. JxC, which has been the main opposition during the Fernández administration, has 116 deputies and 31 senators.

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Governors are an important part of a president’s governability. Most provinces have already voted for their new governors, with Catamarca, Entre Ríos, and Buenos Aires province electing theirs on Sunday. Citizens of Buenos Aires City will also be voting for a new mayor as well as a new president. 

Out of those four districts, the BA City is the only race which can result in a runoff —- only if none of the candidates reaches a minimum of 50% of the vote.

JxC is the national coalition with the highest number of gubernatorial wins across this year’s provincial elections, with eight set to take office. Their candidate won in the Entre Ríos primaries with 46% of the vote, as did JxC’s BA City mayoral candidate Jorge Macri. 

Meanwhile, UxP has the lead in Catamarca and Buenos Aires province according to the primaries, with candidates getting 55% and 36% of the vote, respectively.

None of Milei’s gubernatorial candidates have won provincial elections so far, and although he has candidates in all of the provinces that have yet to vote for a governor they don’t seem to have chances of winning. The coalition came in third in all the gubernatorial primaries that will be decided this Sunday.

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