The main candidates for president in the primary elections of Argentina

Argentina Elections

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Argentines will go to the polls on Sunday to elect the candidates of the different parties for the presidential elections in October, at the start of a tight electoral race that will be settled in the midst of serious economic instability.

Although the primaries are limited to defining the representative of each political space, they are considered the most accurate voter intention map before the October elections, in which the ruling Peronist coalition Unión por la Patria (UP) will try to prevent the opposition alliance Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) will take the presidency, as many polls predict.

In UP, the current Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, will compete with the social leader Juan Grabois to lead the Peronist ticket, although it is ruled out that the experienced official who deals with a creaking economy will obtain a wide victory in the competition for the ruling party.

On the other hand, the primaries expect more couples in JxC, where the polls show just a slight advantage of Patricia Bullrich, former Minister of Security, over Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, to lead the center-right arch.

On the other hand, although the ultraliberal Javier Milei will be the only presidential candidate for La Libertad Avanza, the libertarian party will still have to participate in the primaries (known locally as PASO ), which will allow us to see the real scope of the latest Argentine political surprise.

Below is a summary of the main candidates and their proposals to obtain the presidency of Argentina, where inflation accumulates at 116% per year and the Government seeks to stop the bleeding of foreign currency reserves within the framework of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund ( IMF):

Sergio Massa

The current Minister of Economy, a 51-year-old lawyer, was anointed as the main UP candidate around the time the lists closed, after intense discussions within the ruling coalition and with the endorsement of the center-left Peronist reference Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Sergio Massa, Minister of Economy of Argentina. Photo: Reuters

Massa, a politician with a long history who cemented his power as mayor of the suburb of Tigre, sees reducing the fiscal deficit and strengthening reserves the answer to the complex riddle of the Argentine economy, together with the classic objective of Peronism to bet on the internal market.

With fluid contacts with businessmen and with Washington, Massa is the expression of a Peronism that seeks to appear conciliatory with the markets, which do not hide their resentment about the level of influence that Cristina Fernández could have, who was decisive during the presidency of the outgoing Alberto Fernandez.

Patricia Bullrich

In the bid within JxC, Patricia Bullrich, Minister of Security during Mauricio Macri‘s administration between 2015 and 2019, represents the most conservative wing, with the implicit support of the ex-president as one of his biggest political cards.

Bullrich, 67, agrees with the other candidates that a cut in fiscal spending is necessary to combat inflation, but he also proposes a rapid elimination of taxes on agricultural exports, one of the main sources of resources for the Argentine State.

With a lot of emphasis on the recovery of “order” and a tough speech, Bullrich seeks to differentiate himself from Rodríguez Larreta by saying that he will eliminate capital controls as soon as possible – the mayor pointed out that they must be removed gradually – and that there is no possibility of negotiating with Peronism.

“If it’s not everything, it’s nothing,” Bullrich, who in his youth was a member of left-wing revolutionary Peronism, highlighted in a “spot.”

Horacio Rodriguez Larreta

If Bullrich leads the most radical faction of JxC, Rodríguez Larreta, 57, represents the dialogue sector of the coalition that is nourished by the PRO party founded by Macri as well as the historic Radical Civic Union (UCR) and the Civic Coalition. Horacio Rodríguez Larreta is going through his second consecutive term as mayor of the capital of Argentina. Photo EE: Reuters

The economist with a past at Harvard University proposes deregulation of the different markets in Argentina, but unlike his competitor, he warns that this must be gradual to avoid its effect being too painful for a population already punished by the economic crisis.

Rodríguez Larreta, who is going through his second consecutive term as mayor of the Argentine capital, has the support of the most moderate sectors of JxC and, in his eagerness to achieve consensus to govern, suggested incorporating politicians from other parties into the coalition.

Javier Milei

With tousled hair, histrionics and a fervent speech against the “political caste”, Javier Milei is the biggest political surprise in recent years in Argentina, hand in hand with a crisis that has triggered social disenchantment.

The current deputy, a 52-year-old economist who until recently was a commentator on television programs, has climbed in the polls based on explosive ultra-right statements that are multiplying on social networks.

With proposals such as the elimination of the central bank and the adoption of the US dollar as currency to reduce inflation, Milei, who has also said that he would privatize health, education and eliminate public works, has grown at the expense of discontent with Peronism and the opposition.