The conservative coalition alliance Juntos por el Cambio, Argentina’s main opposition force, has closed ranks after bitter disagreements ahead of a primaries that anchored former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich as its presidential candidate in search of winning back the votes she snatched from that far-right Javier Milli.
“Argentines have decided the path and the strength we must have in Together for Change. Now we will work together for change,” Bullrich said in a message posted Wednesday on the X social network, formerly called Twitter, accompanied by a photo with the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta. The profound change we need in Argentina.
Bullrich, 67, defeated Larita in the open, simultaneous and mandatory primary last Sunday and became a candidate to head Together for Change in the Oct. 22 election. Although opinion polls predicted that this power – which ruled the country between 2015 and 2019 – would be the most voted in the PASO, the far-right economist Milli rocked the political council with 30% of the vote.
Third was Minister of Economy Sergio Massa, which is unprecedented in the history of Peronism.
Milli, the leader of La Libertad Avanza who reached his first political office as a deputy in 2021, attracted a large proportion of Argentines who were frustrated with the traditional political class because of their inability to control inflation and insecurity.
Analysis after Sunday revealed that the result in Millie’s favor was also affected by the strong inside role played by Bullrich and Larita.
“In the eyes of ordinary citizens, overwhelmed by inflation (113% year-on-year in July), their salary is not enough… Worried about insecurity, worried because when they go to the supermarket they don’t know how much you will pay, and in the middle of They see the fight as petty,” warned Orlando D’Adamo, director of the Center for Public Opinion at the University of Belgrano.
He added that “People don’t like seeing it and it affects them. The biggest beneficiary of this is Mellie.”
Possible leakage of the vote
Trying to avoid more votes and keep Juntos por el Cambio in the race for the presidency, Bullrich and Larreta were close, accompanied by their fellow racers and, at least outwardly, indicated that they were in the same boat. .
“With Patricia, we are together more than ever and we will work side by side to create a profound change in the whole of Argentina,” Larita also expressed on social networks.
But are these good demonstrations enough?
“The return of Juntos por el Cambio to government is now in doubt,” said Mariano Machado, principal analyst for the Americas at London-based risk intelligence consultancy Versk Maplecroft.
Bullrich, with his rhetoric in favor of a strong hand against criminals and the implementation of deep reforms, which coincides on many points with Milley’s, now finds himself in the dilemma of attracting more moderate Laretta voters but at the same time avoiding spilling his support base towards the far-right candidate.
Machado pointed out another aspect that Bullrich should not underestimate: Peronism.
He came third in a presidential election for the first time in history. However, the result puts the ruling coalition just 250,000 votes behind Juntos por el Cambio, making second place in October an achievable task for the country’s largest party machine.
For a candidate to win in the first round, they must receive 45% of the vote or at least 40% and have a difference of 10 percentage points or more from the second-most votes. If these numbers are not reached, the two applicants with the most votes will go to the ballot on November 19th.
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