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ARGENTINA | 25-10-2023 11:37

Reports: Patricia Bullrich set to back Javier Milei in Argentina’s presidential run-off

Multiple outlets report that opposition leader Patricia Bullrich will support libertarian presidential candidate Javier Milei in the November 19 run-off.

Multiple outlets in Argentina report that opposition leader Patricia Bullrich will support libertarian presidential candidate Javier Milei in the November 19 run-off.

The PRO party chief, who finished third in last Sunday's election, is due to hold a press conference at midday with her vice-presidential running-mate Luis Petri.

Milei faces ruling coalition candidate, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, in next month's run-off.

It remains unclear if PRO as an entire party will support the La Libertad Avanza lawmaker in the second round, but Bullrich – who met with former president Mauricio Macri this morning – and Petri will publicly back Milei, according to reporting by La Nación and Infobae.

Such a move could lead to the break-up of the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition. PRO, one of three parties that make-up the coalition, are at odds with leaders in the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) and Cívica Coalición-ARI that are uneasy at backing Milei, who proposes vast sweeping reforms for Argentina’s economic turmoil.

"If the parties start deciding different things, it is obvious; coalitions live as long as their members want them to, they do not live forever," said former national senator and UCR leader Ernesto Sanz, one of the coalition’s founders, earlier on Wednesday.

Sanz refrained, however, from explicitly backing Massa in the run-off and instead sought neutrality from the opposition coalition.

"As a radical, I have as many weighty reasons not to be with Milei as not to be with Massa," he said.

The UCR’s national committee is due to meet at 2pm for talks over its collective position.


Behind the scenes

Bullrich, who this week re-assumed leadership of PRO after going on leave for the presidential campaign, met with Macri at her home in Palermo, Buenos Aires, on Wednesday morning to discuss their party’s position.

La Libertad Avanza party sources confirmed to the Noticias Argentinas news agency that Milei met with Macri the previous evening. It remains unclear if Bullrich attended the meeting as well. 

The 67-year-old on Wednesday cancelled a planned meeting of PRO lawmakers and officials, at which the party's position was due to be discussed, for a second consecutive day.

In recent days, Milei has changed his tone on Bullrich, hinting on Tuesday in an interview that she could serve as national security minister – a position she held in Mauricio Macri's 2015-2019 government – in a future administration led by him.

During the campaign Milei had accused Bullrich of having "planted bombs in kindergarten" during her youth and of being a "montonera terrorist" – remarks that prompted the PRO leader to file a legal complaint against him. She denies the allegations.

"If we dedicate ourselves to removing everything we did in the campaign, Kirchnerism wins," the libertarian deputy said in a television interview.

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James Grainger

James Grainger

Editor-in-Chief, Buenos Aires Times.


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