Argentina election heads to a runoff following surprising result in the primary
Argentina’s presidential election was headed for a runoff contest Monday after none of the three main candidates won sufficient votes for an outright victory in a contest largely fought on the country’s ailing economy.
In an upset, Economy Minister Sergio Massa came out on top with 37% of the 26.3 million votes cast, followed Javier Milei with 30% and Patricia Bullrich in third place on 23.8%, provisional results from the electoral commission show.
The far-right populist Milei had been expected to sweep to victory but with no candidate achieving the 45% vote threshold to get over the finish line, the race will now be decided in a Nov. 19 runoff between Massa and Milei.
The policies of the maverick economist and TV pundit Milei include abolishing the central bank, abandoning the Argentine peso in favor of the U.S. dollar as the country’s currency, and cutting off main trading partners China and Brazil.
Voters ultimately favored the safe option of the ruling Peronist coalition’s Massa, despite inflation approaching 140%, the peso at record lows, and the economy forecast to contract by 2.5% in 2023.
Speaking to supporters at his campaign headquarters in the early hours of Monday, Massa pledged a national unity government he said would usher in “a new phase in Argentina’s political history.”