Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei greets supporters during a campaign rally at the National Flag Monument in Rosario, Argentina, 14 November 2023. EFE/Franco Trovato Fuoco

Milei’s party asks for measures to prevent ‘cheating’ in Argentina’s elections

Buenos Aires, Nov 16 (EFE).- The ultra-right group Freedom Advances, led by Javier Milei, on Thursday asked the judiciary to take steps to prevent alleged fraud in next Sunday’s presidential runoff.

On Nov. 19 voters will decide whether Milei or current Economy minister Sergio Massa will lead the country for the next four years.

Freedom Advances also sowed suspicions about the actions of the Gendarmerie (Border Police) in the first round of elections held on Oct. 22, prompting Argentine Interior Minister Aníbal Fernández to say he would take them to court.

“I will file a criminal complaint,” the minister said in televised statements, while defending the actions of the gendarmerie and other security forces that, according to the law, participate in the security operation of any electoral event.

Fernández said that the attempt by Freedom Advances to deprive the Nov. 19 election of legitimacy was “crude.”

The representatives of the libertarian party, Santiago Viola and Karina Milei -sister of the presidential candidate-, filed a document on Thursday before the electoral court of judge María Romilda Servini, accusing the gendarmerie of altering the contents of the ballot boxes and of voting records in favor of Massa in the first round of elections.

The spokespersons clarified that they were not asking for an investigation into the alleged maneuvers-which have never been formally denounced-but for “extreme precautions” to be taken in the future.

“What happened is alarming. It is a trap. It creates mistrust in the system and in the popular vote, and it alters the democratic spirit,” said the representatives, who admitted that information about the alleged fraud came from social networks and from “people who did not want to identify themselves.”

Viola and Milei asked the judge to allow the Argentine Air Force and Navy, which they described as “honorable” military forces, to play a greater role in the transportation of election materials.

They also asked that libertarian watchdogs be guaranteed the possibility of observing the ballot boxes.

In response Servini replied that the law already authorizes party watchdogs to participate in the custody and follow-up of the ballot boxes and all the documents from the voting tables until they are received by the Electoral Board for scrutiny.

The judge also recalled that all the tasks of “coordination and execution” of the security measures are the responsibility of the General Electoral Command, headed by the Argentine Army.

Likewise, Servini informed the Electoral Prosecutor, Ramiro González, of what was denounced by the representatives, “so that, if necessary, he can initiate an investigation into the case.”

On Wednesday, in televised statements, Javier Milei himself stated that his party will only send a minimal number of ballots to the voting tables in order to avoid them being “stolen” in the first hours of the election day, explaining that the partisan watchdogs will have more at their disposal to refill the voting polls as they run out.

The National Electoral Board of Buenos Aires has warned Freedom Advances that the possible lack of its ballots in the voting tables will be their “exclusive responsibility.” EFE