The Peronist candidate and Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, surprised on Sunday by reversing the polls and winning the first round of the Argentine elections. He will now face the runner-up candidate of Libertad Avanza, Javier Milei, in the runoff on November 19.
With 98.51% of the ballot boxes counted, Massa obtains 36.68%, followed by Javier Milei with 29.98%, and the candidate for Juntos por el Cambio, Patricia Bullrich, the big loser of the day, who garnered just 23.71%**.
Voter turnout in the Argentine elections was 77.67%, as reported by official sources. Voting was mandatory for citizens 18 to 69 and voluntary for 16 and 17-year-olds and those 70 or older.
About 35.4 million Argentines were called to not only choose a president and vice president but also to renew 130 of the 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 24 of the 72 in the Senate. Likewise, to designate 43 Argentine representatives for the Mercosur Parliament (the legislative body of the block composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay).
In the electoral headquarters of Massa and his Unión por la Patria party, there was an effervescent atmosphere of celebration Sunday night, with the massive presence of activists, union members, and members of social organizations. The polls had predicted that Milei would revalidate the victory he achieved in the primary elections in August.
In the province of Buenos Aires, the stronghold of the followers of the current vice president and former president Cristina Fernández (2007-2015), the victory went to the ruling party’s Axel Kicillof, with 42.87% of the votes with 25.71% for Néstor Grindetti.
In the opposition Juntos por el Cambio, the atmosphere was one of defeat, only mitigated by the victory in the city of Buenos Aires, where their candidate Jorge Macri, cousin of former president Mauricio Macri, finished first. In second place was the Peronist Leandro Santoro.
Bullrich concedes defeat
The candidate for the Argentine presidency from the conservative coalition Juntos por el Cambio, Patricia Bullrich, acknowledged her defeat in the election.
The former Security Minister during the government of Mauricio Macri (2015-2019) appeared before her party members, accompanied by the former president and other figures from the center-right coalition, including her rival in the August primaries, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.
“Populism has impoverished the country, and it’s not going to be me who will come to facilitate the return to power of someone who has been part of the worst government in the recent history of Argentina,” Bullrich proclaimed. She was referring to the winning candidate in the first round, the Peronist Sergio Massa, although she avoided explicitly endorsing runner-up Milei for the November runoff.