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ARGENTINA | 19-07-2023 17:16

Milei becoming Peronism's only chance of making it to run-off

Libertarian lawmaker is the key for the ruling party to make run-off. Analysts agree that government must divide the opposition vote to have a chance.

“It’s an election of thirds and the important thing is to make it to the runoff”. This phrase was uttered by Vice President Cristina Kirchner on May 18th, when Javier Milei’s limelight seem to blind everyone and there was even speculation that he would be the most voted candidate at the PASO primaries. Two months later, it is a different outlook: the poor results of libertarianism in different provinces, which he tried to dismiss, together with reports of buying candidacies started to moderate the expectations of La Libertad Avanza, his liberal coalition.


In this setting, Peronists sounded the alarm, as they need the libertarian to remain competitive to “steal” votes from Juntos por el Cambio and avoid a clear first round win. In addition to the disastrous results of their candidates (whether or not acknowledged) in different provinces, now Milei has entered in the maze of his own lack of structure less than 30 days ahead of the PASO primaries.


"We need 'Saint Milei' [to save the day] more than ever", a Peronist wheeler-dealer based at Instituto Patria recognised. The phrase is shared by Massa supporters watching their Minister and candidate face a nearly impossible election with the numbers handled every election day.


The Milei factor and the runoff

What happens if Milei crumbles? Will Juntos por el Cambio campaign against the libertarian for their voters to end up choosing between Horacio Rodríguez Larreta or Patricia Bullrich? PERFIL spoke to analysts and pollsters to analyse the present of La Libertad Avanza.


Lucas Romero, from consultancy Synopsis, pointed out: “When you look at the setting and ask about the ruling party and the opposition, on average the voting intention is 27% for the government, and over 50% for the opposition”. “So there’s no way to beat a unified opposition. That’s a defeat in the first round", he warned.


What to do with this? “It’s very much like 2019, with the ruling party mirroring Macri’s place. Peronism was unified then. El Frente de Todos got 48 points and won in the first round. It’s the same today, but the reverse, with the advantage that the opposition vote is divided. So if Milei holds his own the ruling party can aspire to a runoff which would allow them a dignified defeat. It’s easy to lose 55 to 45 and come out with a good volume”.


Is a Peronist victory not an aspiration? “Of course, but in this context it’s a high aspiration for Massa. But you need Milei to hold on. The Government always has it better fighting the opposition one on one. If they all come together there’s no contest. This is their need called Javier Milei".


Facundo Nejamkis, director of Opina Argentina considered that: "Peronism needs Mile to score above 20 points in the province of Buenos Aires because he divides the opposition vote. If there is no runoff, if Milei falls it will directly increase the opposition’s odds, Juntos por el Cambio goes up and Axel Kicillof is threatened".


"On the other hand, the presidential ballot is the defining one. They need him even more there. They need Axel and Massa as a nationwide Peronist. I don’t know about Saint Milei, but strength is almost mandatory", he stated to this publication.


Lastly, Gabriel Slavinsky, psychologist and political consultant ventured that: "If the opposition is not divided there is no Unión por la Patria. Massa is hoping for Milei to be able to hold a percentage of JxC. Without that option the “cambio” vote remains with Juntos. This means acknowledging that UP does not rely on itself to stay in power. It is not a favourite. It needs more than a good campaign, but someone else to complicate the opposition”, he pointed out.


In conclusion, the consultant added a key aspect: “Juntos por el Cambio once again leaves a chance open without consolidating a homogenous option. They cast doubts on the day after. There are too many discrepancies in place”.

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Ramón Indart

Ramón Indart


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