Presidential candidate Javier Milei speaks after knowing the results of the first round of the Argentine elections on Sunday, October 22, in Buenos Aires (Argentina). EFE/ Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Milei promises to “defeat Kirchnerism” in the second round

Buenos Aires, Oct. 23 (EFE) – Javier Milei, La Libertad Avanza’s (far-right) candidate for Argentina’s presidency, denied Monday to the media that he will withdraw from the second round and reiterated that he will fight “until the end” to “beat Kirchnerism.”

Milei came second on Sunday night with 29.98% of the vote, behind the official candidate, Sergio Massa (36.68%), with whom he will compete in the second round on November 19.

The polemic libertarian economist has reached out to other political forces for support in the runoff, particularly the center-right Together for Change party.

Milei acknowledged his closeness to former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), a reference for this center-right political formation.

Former president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, greets during the closing of the campaign of the candidate of the Together for Change coalition (center-right), Patricia Bullrich (out of frame), on October 19, 2023. EFE/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

“I’ve been talking to the former president these days. I have a very good relationship with engineer Macri, I listen to him a lot. I am ready to listen to Macri. I think his experience is very valuable.” He said

“The enemy continues to be Kirchnerism. I invite you to participate, to join me in this fight against Kirchnerism. We will receive them,” Milei added, referring to a possible rapprochement with Macri’s political force.

Macri’s center-right coalition, Together for Change, came in third on Sunday after its candidate, Patricia Bullrich, received 23.83% of the vote.

Macri and Milei’s flirtations during the campaign generated so much noise that the former president had to come to the fore to explicitly defend Bullrich.

Regarding a possible approach, Milei stressed that he is ready “to solve Argentina’s problems, not to carry out a laboratory experiment”, so “we must resort to maximum pragmatism”.

“Two thirds of Argentina want something other than Kirchnerism. If we do not put an end to Kirchnerism, it will be because we are irresponsible,” he stressed, referring to the rest of the political forces that participated in the first round on Sunday.

Bullrich vowed to “fight populism

Together for Change votes are key for Massa or Milei in the second round in November, which is why the winners of the first round have tried to build bridges with the center-right coalition.

Both the Unión por la Patria candidate and the leader of La Libertad Avanza proposed to the forces of the losing coalition to include their leaders in the runoff that will determine the next president, starting on December 10.

In this context, Bullrich said that the “cause” of Together for Change “goes beyond an electoral result.”

“In Together for Change, we have a deep, transparent and republican conviction in the fight against corruption. We are convinced that the country must abandon populism if it wants to grow and end poverty,” she noted.

Candidate Patricia Bullrich, from Together for Change, participates in an event following the results of the first round of the Argentine elections, today, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 22 October 2023. EFE/ Matias Martin Campaya

In her concession speech on Sunday night, Bullrich did not explicitly endorse Milei, and she openly refused to congratulate Massa.

Her campaign had focused on putting an end to “Kirchnerism,” the supporters of the late Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his widow, current vice president and former president (2007-2015) Cristina Fernández.

Patricia Bullrich also said on Monday that she would “never” give up in her fight “against populism”.

“We will never be accomplices of the mafias that have destroyed this country. Our values cannot be bought or sold. From wherever I am, I will never give up in my fight against populism,” she wrote on X (fromerly Twitter).

Some 35.4 million Argentines went to the polls on Sunday to elect a president and vice president, as well as 130 of the 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 24 of the 72 seats in the Senate.

Argentines also had to elect 43 representatives to the Mercosur Parliament (Parlasur, the legislative body of the bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).

The results showed that there will be a second round for the presidency between Massa and Milei for the period 2023-2027. EFE