La Libertad Avanza presidential candidate Javier Milei celebrated qualifying for the second-round run-off of the presidential election on Sunday night with an appeal to opposition voters to back him in November.
Milei, who turned 53 on Sunday, finished behind Economy Minister Sergio Massa in the race for the Presidency and the two will go head-to-head at the ballot box in four weeks’ time. The battle for the votes from eliminated rivals is on and the libertarian lawmaker wasted no time in asking Argentines to back his candidacy.
Addressing a crowd of adoring supporters from a stage at the Hotel Libertador, Milei hailed his party’s achievement in the election and said more was to come.
"Two years ago, if we had been told that we would be competing with Kirchnerism for the Presidency of the Nation, we would not have believed it. We are facing a historic event!" Milei yelled as those gathered roared in delight.
Milei, who took 30 percent of the vote and finished six points behind Massa, said the result is “the product of the efforts of thousands of people who have worked to promote the ideas of freedom.”
"From not having a party to being competing for the first national force, it is a truly historic achievement," added Milei, who was joined onstage by key party leaders, including his running mate, Victoria Villarruel, Buenos Aires Province gubernatorial candidate Carolina Piparo and Buenos Aires City mayoral hopeful Ramiro Marra.
"To have made the best election in history for liberalism fills us with pride. From nothing we have gone on to have nearly 40 deputies and eight senators," he said, predicting the final results and its impact on Congress.
"For this reason, I would like to congratulate all the leaders of our party who have given their all to represent the ideas that made this country great. I would especially like to thank Carolina Piparo and the very dear Ramiro Marra. Thank you for your efforts," he added.
The candidate went on to deliver a strong speech in which he winked heavily at opposition voters and sought to build bridges with the Juntos por el Cambio coalition, congratulating key leaders Jorge Macri (competing to be Buenos Aires City mayor) and Rogelio Frigerio (governor-elect of Entre Ríos Province) on their strong performances in regional elections.
"Above all, I want you to be aware that today we are in the most important election in 100 years.[It’s] An election that will ask us if we want to continue with this [government] model or if we want to embrace the ideas of freedom," he said, railing against the ruling Peronist coalition and declaring that he wants to “put an end to Kirchnerism.”
"Beyond our differences, we have a criminal organisation in front of us. Kirchnerism is the worst thing that has happened to Argentina. For 100 years we lived through a total decadence that Kirchnerism took charge of deepening," the economist argued.
"If all of us who want change don't work, they are going to keep this country. We cannot let Kirchnerism continue to destroy our lives. The choice ahead of us is very clear: either we change or we sink," he concluded, before exiting the hotel to greet the party faithful who had gathered outside in large numbers.