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Argentina’s Economy Minister Massa leads populist Milei in presidential vote count

With 76% of the votes counted, Economy Minister Sergio Massa took an early lead in Argentina’s presidential election Sunday, with 35.9%.

Issued on: 23/10/2023 – 03:05

1 min

Argentina’s Economy Minister and presidential candidate for the Union por la Patria party, Sergio Massa, salutes supporters during the Buenos Aires province closing campaign celebrating Peronist Loyalty Day at the Julio Humberto Grondona stadium in Sarandi, Buenos Aires, on October 17, 2023. © AFP



Right-wing populist Javier Milei was in second, at 30.5%.

In order to win outright and avoid a Nov. 19 runoff, a candidate needed to get 45% of the vote, or 40% with a 10-point lead over the runner-up.

Because the voting was conducted by paper ballots, the timing of full results was unpredictable.

The highly polarized election will determine whether South America’s second-largest economy will continue with a center-left administration or elect one of the right-leaning leaders who both promised profound changes to a country plagued by triple-digit inflation and rising poverty.

Former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, the other right-wing candidate, was trailing well behind Massa and Milei in the early results.

In the run-up to the vote, Milei, who has been a lawmaker in Argentina’s lower house of Congress since 2021, was the undisputed star of the campaign.

He rocked Argentina’s political landscape when he unexpectedly received the most votes in August primaries.

Both Massa and Bullrich, of the main opposition coalition, focused much of their firepower in the campaign’s final days on warning voters against electing Milei, who they called a dangerous upstart.

For his part, Milei characterized his two main opponents as members of a privileged “political caste” that has brought Argentina to its beleaguered economic state must be purged so he could enact his audacious economic agenda.

Around 35 million Argentines were eligible to vote, and about one-quarter of the electorate abstained.


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  • Argentina
  • presidential elections
  • South America