In a surprising turn of political events, the elections on October 22, 2023, in Argentina marked a historic milestone, becoming the process with the lowest voter turnout in 40 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country. This phenomenon, coupled with a profound sense of uncertainty, culminated in a surprising and contrasting result compared to the primary elections (PASO), drastically altering the Argentine political landscape.
Massa's Resurgence: A Historic Comeback
Sergio Massa, the current Minister of Economy, faced with adversity after the primaries, stunned the nation by securing 36.68% of the votes in the general elections, adding almost three million more votes than in the primaries. This resurgence defied expectations and propelled him into the runoff, where he will compete against La Libertad Avanza, led by Javier Milei.
Milei: A Phenomenon That, While Unyielding, Gets Overtaken
Despite maintaining a strong position and winning in 10 significant provinces, Milei's resignation in six crucial districts to the ruling party was a determining factor in his standing in the contest. The libertarian secured 29.99% of the votes, showcasing the persistence of his political phenomenon but also revealing its limits in this crucial stage.
Challenges for the Opposition: Bullrich in Third Place
Election night brought significant challenges for the opposition, particularly for Patricia Bullrich of Juntos por el Cambio. With just 23.84% of the votes, almost a million less than in the primaries, the former minister landed in third place, underscoring the difficulties in regaining the support of voters who backed Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the internal party elections.
Juan Schiaretti: Notable Growth on the Political Scene
Another noteworthy element was the growth of Juan Schiaretti, who secured 6.92% of the votes. His robust performance in Córdoba and his prominent role in the presidential debates position him as an emerging figure in the Argentine political landscape.
International Reactions and Market Response: Surprise and Volatility
Massa's victory not only surprised at the national level but also elicited reactions internationally. Media outlets like The Guardian and BBC characterized the result as "surprising" and emphasized Massa's role as a "centrist" who defied expectations.
Financial markets also experienced a shake-up due to this unexpected shift. While the resilience shown by the ruling party suggests some stability in the official peso exchange rate, sovereign bonds and stocks of Argentine companies suffered significant drops, reflecting the volatility and uncertainty generated by the electoral outcome.
Second Round: The Path to Resolution
With the second round scheduled for November 19, the electoral campaign is already underway. Both Massa and Milei will seek to win over the 35% of the electorate that did not support them in the first round, turning this upcoming chapter into an intense and crucial contest for Argentina's political future.
A new era begins
In a surprising turn of events, both Massa and Milei emerge as representatives of a new era in Argentine politics, transcending the traditional Kirchnerism -Macri dichotomy.
Hailing from different political backgrounds, these candidates signify a departure from the familiar party lines that have defined Argentine politics for years.
Regardless of the election outcome, their presence marks the end of the old political divide and ushers in a "new" era, free from the constraints of the traditional political landscape.
With both candidates steering clear of the established political cabinets, Argentina stands on the brink of a fresh beginning, embracing a more nuanced and diverse political spectrum that promises to redefine the nation's political narrative.