Javier Miele, the big surprise of the primaries in Argentina

“This is a historic moment for all of us, it’s unimaginable.” Victoria Villaruel, Javier Milei’s running mate, described Argentina’s election day on August 13, where a proxy presidential candidacy launched by the far-right La Libertad Avanza party was made official.

With more than 90% of polls polled, Miley emerges as the winner of the vote against all odds: only his candidacy adds more support than contesting both Juntos por el Campio, Macrista’s conservative right, and Por Union. Homeland, ruling party.

Although Peronism was expected not to fare well in the contest, the surprise was Millay’s ‘sorbazo’ against the controversial Macristas, the opposition leadership of Alberto Fernandez’s government. For now, the ‘outsiders’ Ultra seem to be taking advantage of the discontent seeping into the Argentine population.

Exams STEP (Compulsory Concurrent Open Primary) helps determine which candidates will be nominated for Argentina’s presidency next October and is a key thermometer to measure the country’s political climate. After the voting, an unprecedented scene unfolds: far-right libertarian Millay in first place, One for Change in second place, Patricia Bulrich as the winner of the internal dispute, and the Union Por La Patria, led by Sergio, in third place. Massa.

During primaries in Argentina on August 13, 2023, anti-establishment candidate Javier Mille won with 32% of the vote. © Marianna Nedelgu, Reuters

“Fin a Toda la Casta Politica, Cry and Useless”

From a hotel in the center of the Argentine capital, Miley was delighted to see the results presented by election officials. In addition, he thanked his supporters, proposing that this would be the beginning of the end for the “stupid political caste, stupid and useless”, as the candidate was sentenced between shouts of “long live freedom”.

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Emboldened, the politician promised to win the presidential election in the first round. Meanwhile, at the party’s election headquarters, La Libertad Avanza, a luxury hotel in Buenos Aires, the dinner turned to a party.

Born in Buenos Aires on October 22, 1970, Javier Millay stole the spotlight on the Argentine political scene with his independent and confrontational discourse in relation to traditional politicians.

Before fully entering political life, Miley, an economist by profession, participated as a political commentator on national television programs. Total defense of the free market, of which he was an ardent follower.

It was only in 2021 that Miley made her first foray into Argentine politics, gaining a seat in the Chamber of Deputies before launching her presidential campaign.

Among his proposals were the dollarization of the Argentine economy and the “closing” of the central bank as key measures to alleviate the country’s high inflation rates, which exceeded 100%.

In the social sphere, Milei has rejected progressive policies on several occasions, appearing against advances in abortion and the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

Argentine presidential candidate Javier Millay of the La Libertad Avanza coalition looks on as he votes at a polling station during Argentina’s primary elections, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 13, 2023. © Reuters / Mariana Nedelku

In traditional politics, the libertarian criticizes both Argentina’s left and right, rejecting Peronism and asserting that the right has not done enough to be taken seriously, the main reason for contesting these elections against the ‘Macrista’ current represented by Patricia. Bullrich.

The legacy franchise is hot on Miley’s heels

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From Together for Change, Patricia Bulrich is optimistic about the results of an election that will see her elected as one of the traditional right after a bitter electoral battle against another favorite, Horacio Rodríguez Lauretta.

“They elected us to lead a change that will leave corruption and waste behind. A change that will leave education vulnerable to political controversy. Today we have taken an important step that opens up hope for us,” the right winger said. The candidate also recognized Javier Millay’s “good campaign”.

A former defense minister in the Mauricio Macri government and a Peronist past, Bulrich has wrapped the banner of change in his political discourse with three basic pillars: biregionalism, cuts in public spending and a strong hand against crime.

Patricia Bulrich, who won Argentina’s internal primaries for the conservative Juntos por El Campio, is now celebrating in Buenos Aires as the party’s presidential candidate. © Juan Ignacio Roncoroni / EFE

Within the political space of machismo, Bullrich is characterized by a harsh and confrontational tone, at times similar to Miley’s patterns. His plan was to win the primaries and try to pull the far-right as a candidate, missing the opportunity to fall behind the far-right.

Now the candidate will seek to lead opposition to the ruling party from the traditional currents of Argentina’s right, which has regained strength in recent years after a crushing defeat against Peronism in the 2019 presidential elections, now seen on the other side. A balance that suffered its worst electoral defeat in decades.

Sergio Massa, the hopeful of the ruling party

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The outcome of the PASO elections demonstrates popular dissatisfaction with the Argentine left as a whole.

After Alberto Fernández announced that his party would not run to continue in power, the name of his Economy Minister Sergio Massa came to light as a commitment to Union Por La Patria to give continuity to his political plan.

Sergio Massa, whose country has been marred by a lack of inflation control and an economic crisis, will be tasked with encouraging citizens who trusted his party to rule in 2019 to do so again in these new elections.


From the coalition’s election headquarters in Buenos Aires, Massa acknowledged that “a new political situation” was opening up in Argentina, but recalled that Peronism still had opportunities: “It’s the end of the first period, we have a second period, and extra time, and penalties, and we’re at the last minute. We will fight until”.

Union Por La Patria, although lagging behind the Conservatives, easily defeated his internal rival, Juan Grapois, by collecting more votes than Sergio Massa Fulrich. The politician called for a “new majority” to beat “those who built hate”.

Alberto Fernandez spoke in a similar vein: “Now the real campaign begins.”

Massa advocates continuing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to restructure the country’s external debt, and stimulating the national economy through investments in rural areas and social programs to help alleviate the effects of the high unemployment Argentina is currently experiencing. .

All eyes will be on Argentina on October 22, waiting to see if Mili’s breakthrough speech qualifies to reach the Casa Rosada, if Fulrich can lead Machrismo into the country’s first opposition force, or if Massa pulls off a miracle. The Left is in power forever.

With Reuters, EFE and local media

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