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Argentina goes to polls in nail-biter presidential election

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published November 19,2023

Argentina heads to the polls Sunday to vote in a presidential election between Economy Minister Sergio Massa and libertarian outsider Javier Milei in the midst of a sustained economic crisis.

An admirer of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, Milei rocked politics of the South American country after winning most votes in the presidential primary in August.

The 52-year-old politician, who has an anti-system rhetoric and expresses himself with an aggressive tone, appears as an alternative to the traditional political leadership. He has pledged to shutter the central bank and dollarize the economy.

MIlei, standing for the La Libertad Avanza party, has attracted attention from young voters for its eccentric proposals in a country embroiled in a profound economic crisis triggered by an unprecedented inflation of 138% and increasing poverty.

Massa, 51, who represents the ruling Union por la Patria coalition, has pledged to cut the fiscal deficit and defend the Peronist social welfare system. He has warned that his opponent's plan to cut state bureaucracy would threaten the health and education public systems and welfare programs.

Massa won 36.7% of the votes compared to some 30% for Milei in the first round of vote in October, but Milei has since won public backing from the conservative former security minister Patricia Bullrich, who was placed third.

The latest polls gave Milei a slight superiority of 2-3% over Massa, but with a 2% margin of error, the candidates are technically tied.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. local time (1100 GMT) and will close at around 6 p.m. More than 35 million voters are eligible to choose who will sit on the presidential chair in the Casa Rosada on Dec. 10.