In the last debate before the presidential elections in Argentina, scheduled for next Sunday (19), the ultraliberal Javier Milei and the Peronist Sergio Massa had one of their strongest confrontations over relations with Brazil and China. The discussion was motivated by a speech by the current Minister of Economy, who accused the extremist of wanting to break the dialogue with the two countries.
Massa argued that the measure would end with fewer jobs for Argentines and that “foreign policy cannot be governed by whims.” The right-winger countered by saying that his opponent was lying, that President “Alberto Fernández also didn’t speak to [o ex-presidente Jair] Bolsonaro” and that Mercosur is at a dead end.
“About the lies [que afirmam que] that I say we should not trade with China or Brazil, [isso] it’s fake. It’s a private market issue and the State has no reason to get involved, because every time it gets involved it generates corruption,” he said. The two raised their tone, and the presenter had to intervene in the debate for the first time to ask them not to get involved. interrupted.
Milei also twice mentioned the Brazilian advertisers who reinforced Massa’s campaign team since the August primary elections and may have helped the Peronist to reverse the ultraliberal’s favoritism in the first round. Part of the group worked on the PT presidential campaigns of Fernando Haddad and Lula against Bolsonaro in Brazil.
This was the case when the Peronist invited viewers to “Google” what his opponent had already said about cutting subsidies. “I invite viewers to watch the entire videos, not the ones that Brazilians edit to campaign for you,” replied the libertarian.
Despite not being considered a defining factor in the first round, this Sunday’s debate (12) may have more weight in a context of fierce competition. Its effect cannot be captured by polls, as their publication is prohibited in the last election week.
The most up-to-date surveys show a fierce dispute and give an advantage sometimes to the Peronist, sometimes to the ultraliberal, but Milei appears ahead in most of them with a slight difference. Mainly because he attracts most of the votes from Patricia Bullrich, a Macrista who represents the traditional right and supported his former opponent after losing in the first round, obtaining just 23.8% of the votes.
AtlasIntel’s second and final second round poll, released this Friday (10), for example, shows a scenario of stability in relation to last week, with 52.1% of voting intentions for Milei and 47.9% for Massa , with a margin of error of one percentage point. The company was one of the only companies that captured the minister’s rise since September.
Given the situation, the Peronist has been intensifying the mea culpas and attempts to disassociate himself from the government of Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner, former president and current vice president, who have been missing from the campaign for months. The candidate’s connection with the leader, who receives high rejection, is the link that unites Milei and Bullrich and one of the main points explored by the ultraliberal.
The event this time, held at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), has a looser format, which is similar to that experienced by Lula (PT) and Bolsonaro (PL) in 2022, with the possibility for candidates to move around the scene and interrupt each other.