Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Frente de Todos challenger Matías Lammens stole the show Thursday night, as the two top-polling candidates to lead the nation's capital traded blows in a televised debate.
The duo – who took to the stage along with Consenso Federal candidate, Matías Tombolini, and Frente de Izquierda hopeful Gabriel Solano – starred in the debate's spiciest exchange, in which Lammens reminded the incumbent that he had tried to add him to his electoral ticket in the past.
The mostly low-key debate's most eye-catching moment began with discussion about next year's Budget for Buenos Aires City. After Rodríguez Larreta accused Lammens, the president of the San Lorenzo football club, of "comparing pears with apples," he went on to say that when they worked together on projects in the capital, his rival was not quite as critical.
"We worked together in Bajo Flores, I in the City and you in San Lorenzo. You never made me a comment about the government's social policies. Would you support the work we did together in Bajo Flores again?" asked the mayor.
Lammens responded by asking the Juntos por el Cambio candidate if he remembered the "many times" he had tried to add him to "your [party's] lists," without success.
"I told you that I had other looks and other priorities," he said.
The two then continued to clash over the budget and crime, with tensions rising.
Tombolini then joked that "the debate got more spicy, luckily."
For the most part, the debate took on a familiar manner. Opposition candidates regularly criticised Rodríguez Larreta, his administration and the national government, while the City mayor responded with a fierce defence of his government's work in the capital and their proposals, should he win a second term.
With just 16 days to go before the election, the candidates were eager to put across their campaign proposals in a bid to pick up more votes.
The debate was broken down into sections, the first of which was based on security and justice. The candidates clashed over tasers, with Solano arguing he was the only hopeful against the use of tasers in the City. Lammens rebuffed that he was not in favour of tasers but rather preferred their use to that of guns, while Rodríguez Larreta offered a defence of CCTV cameras and their use in the City.
There was another clash on the education and health, with Lammens querying the depth of the City government's budget. Rodríguez Larreta, meanwhile, promised that all porteños would have a "health centre less than 15 minutes from their home," should he win re-election.
The election in the City takes place on October 27, the same day as the national general elections. Last time out, in the August 11 PASO primary, Rodríguez Larreta took 46.48 percent of the vote, compared to 31.93 percent for Lammens. Tombolini won 7.22 percent, with Solano bagging 4.01 percent.