Argentina's economy minister concedes defeat to populist Javier Milei in presidential runoff


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  6 months ago  •  14 comments

By:   The Associated PressBy Associated Press

Argentina's economy minister concedes defeat to populist Javier Milei in presidential runoff
Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa conceded defeat to populist Javier Milei in Sunday's fiercely polarized presidential runoff.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa conceded defeat to populist Javier Milei in Sunday's fiercely polarized presidential runoff even before the country's electoral authority released official results.

Massa congratulated his opponent, a right-wing economist who has promised a dramatic shake-up for many of the nation's institutions and welcomed frequent comparisons of him to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Immediately after Massa's concession speech, the Argentine electoral authority released partial results: With 86.6% of votes tallied, Milei had 55.95% and Massa 44.04%.

With a Milei victory, the country will swing to the right amid discontent over soaring inflation and rising poverty, and empower a freshman lawmaker who describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist and got his start as a television talking head blasting what he called the "political caste."

Inflation has soared above 140% and poverty has worsened while Massa has held his post. Milei, a self-described anarcho-capitalist, has proposed to slash the size of the state and rein in inflation, while the government minister he was running against warned people about the negative impacts of such policies. The election forced many to decide which of the two they considered to be the least bad choice.

Milei's screeds resonated widely with Argentines angered by their struggle to make ends meet, particularly young men.

"Money covers less and less each day. I'm a qualified individual, and my salary isn't enough for anything," Esteban Medina, a 26-year-old physical therapist from Ezeiza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a Milei rally earlier this week.

Massa, as one of the most prominent figures in a deeply unpopular administration, was once seen as having little chance of victory. But he managed to mobilize the networks of his Peronist party and clinched a decisive first-place finish in the first round of voting.

His campaign cautioned Argentines that his libertarian opponent's plan to eliminate key ministries and otherwise sharply curtail the state would threaten public services, including health and education, and welfare programs many rely on. Massa also drew attention to his opponent's often aggressive rhetoric and openly questioned his mental acuity; ahead of the first round, Milei sometimes carried a revving chainsaw at rallies.

Speaking after casting her vote at the stately University of Buenos Aires Law School, Jenifer Pio, 36, told the AP that she fears a Milei victory would risk the return of dictatorship.

"Milei doesn't have the faintest idea of how to govern," said Pio, a homemaker. "It isn't bad that he's prideful, but he would need to have a bit more stability. He's unstable emotionally and psychologically. He's unwell."

Ana Iparraguirre, a partner at pollster GBAO Strategies, said Massa's "only chance to win this election when people want change ... is to make this election a referendum on whether Milei is fit to be president or not."

"We're starting a new chapter in Argentina, and this chapter requires not only goodwill, intelligence and capability but above all, dialogue and the necessary consensus for our homeland to traverse a much more virtuous path in the future," Massa told journalists Sunday after casting his ballot.

Milei accused Massa and his allies of running a "campaign of fear" and he walked back some of his most controversial proposals, such as loosening gun control. In his final campaign ad, Milei looks at the camera and assures voters he has no plans to privatize education or health care.

"We did a great job despite the fear campaign and all the dirty tactics they used against us," Milei told journalists after he voted amid a large security operation as dozens of supporters and journalists gathered at his polling place.

One of his supporters is Maria Gabriela Gaviola, a 63-year-old entrepreneur doing everything she can to avoid shuttering her company, which manufactures veterinary products, amid surging prices for materials. And the government hasn't helped, including Massa who has held his ministerial post for over a year.

"The productive sector of this country isn't considered. How long can a country that doesn't produce be OK?" said Gaviola, who has taken on two side jobs to keep her company afloat. "Truth is, I don't know Milei. I've heard him a bit. I don't know him, but the one who I already know doesn't help me. I prefer to try something new."

Most pre-election polls, which have been notoriously wrong at every step of this year's campaign, showed a statistical tie between the two candidates. Voters for first-round candidates who didn't make the runoff will be key. Patricia Bullrich, who placed third, has endorsed Milei.

Underscoring the bitter division this campaign has brought to the fore, Milei received both jeers and cheers on Friday night at the legendary Colon Theater in Buenos Aires.

Those divisions were also evident Sunday when Milei's running mate, Victoria Villaruel, went to vote and was met by protesters angry at her claims that the number of victims from Argentina's bloody 1976-1983 military dictatorship is far below what human rights organizations have long claimed, among other controversial positions.

The vote took place amid Milei's allegations of possible electoral fraud, reminiscent of those from Trump and former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Without providing evidence, Milei claimed that the first round of the presidential election was plagued by irregularities that affected the result. Experts say such irregularities cannot swing an election, and that his assertions were partly aimed at firing up his base and motivating his supporters to become monitors of voting stations.

Such claims spread widely on social media and, at Milei's rally in Ezeiza earlier this week, all those interviewed told the AP they were concerned about the integrity of the vote.

Associated Press


jrDiscussion - desc
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  Vic Eldred    6 months ago

Argentina made the logical choice, the one it had to make. The country is mired in the worst economic crisis in its history thanks to Socialism. 

This article really doesn't really list the reforms that Milei plans to implement, including drastically cutting government spending, eliminating the central bank and completely dollarizing the country. Argentina will replace the Peso with the Dollar. 

I wish him and the people of Argentina good luck,

Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  Sean Treacy    6 months ago

It’s been amusing to see the attacks levied against milei  bu the American media the last few days. The post called him a trump style libertarian, which goes to show words have no meaning anymore. It’s just trump=bad and don’t worry about making sense.  

decades  of Peronism destroyed what was one of the richest economies in the world and caused incapacitating  inflation.  Hard to imagine anything being worse.

Professor Principal
2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    6 months ago
It’s just trump=bad 

God damn right.

At a rally in Hialeah, Florida, last Wednesday, Trump painted a picture of a hellish (predominantly white) America overrun by serial killers and other human monsters from foreign (and predominantly nonwhite) countries, insisting that only he could save (white) America from the death and contamination caused by Democrats and “the left.”

“Anybody ever hear of Hannibal Lecter?” Trump asked the crowd. “He was a nice fellow. But that’s what’s coming into our country right now.”

The Atlantic’s   John Hendrickson  continues from there:
The leader of the Republican Party — and quite likely the 2024 GOP nominee — was on an extended rant about mental institutions, prisons, and, to use his phrase, “empty insane asylums.” Speaking to thousands of die-hard supporters at a rally in South Florida, Trump lamented that, under Pres ident Joe Biden, th e United States has become “the dumping ground of the world.” That he had casually praised one of the most infamous psychopathic serial killers in cinema history was but an aside, brushed over and forgotten.

This was a dystopian, at times gothic speech. It droned on for nearly 90 minutes. Trump attacked the “liars and leeches” who have been “sucking the life and blood” out of the country. Those unnamed people were similar to, yet different from, the “rotten, corrupt, and tyrannical establishment” of Washington, D.C. — a place Trump famously despises, and to which he nonetheless longs to return.

Donald Trump dreams of an American Fourth Reich — and he's not kidding (yahoo.com)
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
2.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    6 months ago

Trump is not the topic, but that never seems to stop you.

Professor Principal
2.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    6 months ago

The simple fact is (whether or not liberals or Democrats can recognize it) is that undesirables ARE coming in over our porous Southern border. I get that Joe Biden is ignoring the border crisis, but at least the Democratic mayors of some of America's largest cities are coming around and acknowledging that there is a problem at the border.

The sooner Biden and his sycophants join in, the better.

Professor Principal
2.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.1    6 months ago
Trump is not the topic, but that never seems to stop you.

Based on thousands and thousands of posts seen here over the years, I have concluded that there is NO topic which can not be related to Trump in some twisted, devious, ignorant way.   

Goldfish died? Blame Trump.

Rained when you wanted sunshine? Blame Trump!

Traffic light turned red on you? Blame Trump!

Professor Principal
2.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    6 months ago
 It’s just trump=bad and don’t worry about making sense.  

You guys continue to relentlessly defend something that is indefensible. We live in a degraded country. 

Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2    6 months ago

So is trump a fascist? Or a libertarian? Can you at least settle on a coherent line of attack?

Professor Principal
2.2.2  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2    6 months ago
We live in a degraded country. 

Thanks, Joe Biden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Professor Principal
2.2.3  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.1    6 months ago
So is trump a fascist? Or a libertarian? Can you at least settle on a coherent line of attack?

"Join our 'Name of the Week Club' and enjoy daily emails with the word of the day!!!!!"

Professor Principal
2.2.4  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.1    6 months ago

My thoughts about Trump are completely coherent. He belongs in jail, not in the oval office. The Republican Party needed to throw him under the bus after Jan 6 2021 and not a single one of them had the balls to say it until Liz Cheney and Kinzinger did, and they were run out of the party. 

It’s just trump=bad 

Lets not belabor the obvious. 

Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
2.3  Right Down the Center  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    6 months ago
It’s just trump=bad

That is all they have to run on.  Obviously the job Joe is doing isn't going to work.

Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.3.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Right Down the Center @2.3    6 months ago
  Obviously the job Joe is doing isn't going to work.

WAIT!!!!  He's supposed to do something?  HIs lack of work is all we've seen for the past 50 years.

Professor Principal
2.3.2  Texan1211  replied to  Right Down the Center @2.3    6 months ago

Joe's biggest problem is that he now has a record as President to run on. Shame it sucks so bad.


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