Libertarian and Leftist to Compete in Runoff to Be Argentina’s Next President

Libertarian outsider Javier Milei and Sergio Massa, a member of the leftist ruling party, qualified for the runoff election to decide who will become Argentina’s next president.


Libertarian outsider Javier Milei and Sergio Massa, a member of the leftist ruling party, qualified for the runoff election to decide who will become Argentina’s next president.

  • Massa beat the polls and finished first with 36.1 percent of the vote, a solid plurality but still an underwhelming performance for the Justicialist Party, the latest incarnation of the left-wing Peronist movement that’s governed Argentina for much of the last few decades.
  • Milei finished in second with 30.4 percent of the vote, underperforming his polls but still a remarkable finish for a political movement that ran against both of Argentina’s leading parties.
  • The populist Milei’s 30% vote share was almost exactly the same percentage of the vote that he won in the August primary election.
  • Patricia Bullrich, the candidate of the center-right coalition that most recently governed Argentina from 2015 to 2019, finished in a distant third with 23.7 percent.
  • Milei and Massa will now compete in a runoff election in November. President Alberto Fernandez, the unpopular incumbent leftist president, declined to seek a second term.
  • Argentina is struggling with triple-digit inflation, more than 40% of Argentines live below the poverty line, and the country is the world’s largest debtor to the International Monetary Fund.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times contextualized Argentina’s “dismal economy.” The Argentine peso has depreciated rapidly, and inflation is at a staggering 138 percent. Massa, the leftist candidate, is the current minister of the economy and has “taken to apologizing for his party’s handling of the economy and promised to stabilize the situation as president.” Peronists have ruled Argentina for most of the last two decades and are “responsible for much of the economic mismanagement that has led the nation into such a deep financial hole.”
  • The Guardian noted Milei “is often compared to Donald Trump, whom he has praised. ‘There is an alignment with all those who are willing to fight against socialism at the international level,’ Milei told the Economist last month, minimizing Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol riots.”
  • CNN observed that despite Massa’s current position in the government, he has tried to “distance himself politically from Argentina’s high-profile vice-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner,” a former president and convicted felon who is widely considered the power behind the throne in the current government.



  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Milei promised, chain saw in hand, to cut out the “useless parasites” from Argentina’s institutions and destroy the “political caste” which is “trembling” at the thought of him becoming president. “I detest them,” Milei has said of leftists, and considers paying taxes “an act of violence” and the public sector “a cancer.”
  • Fox News reported, “In a sign of the seriousness with which the Argentine establishment views the Milei threat, the candidate was recently charged by prosecutors with intentionally seeking to devalue the Argentine peso, in what many perceived as a politically motivated prosecution.”
  • The Financial Times covered the hurdles Massa faces as the candidate of the incumbent government: “Massa’s campaign has also been challenged by several corruption scandals involving the ruling Peronist coalition: recently the chief of staff to the Buenos Aires Province governor Axel Kicillof was forced to resign after being photographed on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean drinking champagne with a model.”


Return to Freespoke

© Dominic Moore, 2023