Presidential candidate Javier Milei and former candidate Patricia Bullrich pose during their participation in the A Dos Voces program, today, in Buenos Aires (Argentina). EFE/Stringer

High political tension in Argentina’s opposition after Milei and Bullrich hug

Veronica Dalto

Buenos Aires, Oct 26 (EFE). – With the November runoff election in sight, Argentina experienced another day of high political tension on Thursday as candidates Sergio Massa and Javier Milei try to consolidate their support base while the defeated Together for Change coalition slowly bleeds out.

Hours after the leader of Freedom Advances (far right) and the center-right candidate, Patricia Bullrich, defeated in Sunday’s general elections, sealed their alliance for the second round with an embrace on national television, the leaders of each political movement are trying to digest the move.

Within Milei’s party, an elected provincial deputy, Liliana Salinas, decided to separate from the party after “seeing with amazement the radical turn” of its leader, who, despite his inflammatory speech, now chose to “compromise and embrace the ‘same old.'”

But the most shocking consequence was the departure of the gastronomic unionist Luis Barrionuevo, who, despite being identified as part of the “caste” reviled by the libertarian, had accompanied him until the general elections.

Barrionuevo announced on Thursday with “deep indignation and disappointment” that he “will not accompany this surprising alliance” between Milei’s party, Bullrich, and former Argentine president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019).

On Bullrich’s side, her supporters applauded the gesture as her merit for having “cleansed” one of those she describes as a representative of the “mafias,” and whom she attacked on several occasions during the first round debates.

Milei-Macri agreement

The truth is that on Tuesday night, Milei negotiated with Macri – another alleged representative of the “caste” he criticizes – to support him in the November 19 runoff against the current Minister of Economy and official candidate, Sergio Massa, despite Milei’s strong criticism of the center-right coalition.

Bullrich came third in Sunday’s vote with 23.83% of the vote, behind Massa (36.28%) and Milei (29.98%).

“I try to tell the 6.2 million voters who accompanied me that we have two alternatives. Either the continuity of Kirchnerism or change. Is it the change we proposed? No, otherwise they would have voted for us. It is the possible change,” Bulrich told the press on Thursday, responding to criticism for supporting the far-right libertarian.

From the center right, the Civic Coalition (CC) called to refrain from voting for either Milei or Massa, other leaders of the Republican Proposal (Pro, Bullrich and Macri’s party) declared themselves neutral and the Radical Civic Union (UCR) formalized its neutrality, criticizing Bullrich and especially Macri as “responsible for the defeat” on Sunday.

For Bullrich, it is important “how the country will be reconfigured” in the next four years, identifying Massa with Kirchnerism, referring to followers of former president Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his widow, former president (2007-2015) and current vice-president, Cristina Fernández.

On the TN television channel, Milei said against the leaders of Together for Change who criticize Bullrich’s position: “If Massa is elected, let them take responsibility for the consequences of not facing the historic challenge.”

No government agreements

The libertarian economist reaffirmed his proposal to dollarize the economy and eliminate the Central Bank due to the high inflation that Argentina is suffering -138.3% year-on-year last September-, issues that Bullrich criticized during her campaign and still does not support.

Milei’s possible Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, predicted in statements to Continental Radio that in order to put together a hypothetical “coalition” of government, it will be necessary to “discuss” the points that Bullrich “sets as a condition” for supporting Milei as president.

On Wednesday, during the press conference in which Bullrich announced her support for Milei’s candidacy, she said that there was no “pact” or “government agreement.”

Senators of Together for Change on Thursday ratified their “unity” in the face of the dangers of implosion of the battered alliance and said they shared the decision of the space governors – who on Wednesday spoke in favor of neutrality – to “consolidate the future of the coalition.” EFE

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