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Argentina heads to vote on Sunday to choose from option to bring the Argentine economy out of an economic catastrophe. The contestants- Economy Minister Sergio Massa, from the ruling Peronist party, against libertarian outsider Javier Milei.

Milei stands out for displacing a traditional center-right coalition in the first round of voting last month.

Voting booths close at 6 pm and official results are expected late Sunday night. The winner of the popular vote will take office December 10, starting a four-year term.

What remains at stake in Argentina’s Presidential Election?

-High Consumer Prices jumping 143% a year

-A relentless currency depreciation

-Looming Recession

-Hyperinflation

-Complete social crisis

A policy mistake and Latin America’s second largest economy could have a bleak future.

Here are the things to watch out for as marked by Bloomberg

Economic, Political Crossroads

The proposals put forth by the two finalists couldn’t be more different, from how to handle the economy to the ideal role and size of the state to how to carry out foreign policy. 

Massa, who’s been in charge of the economy as inflation soared into triple digits, has pledged gradual changes to balance the budget next year. He favors a multilateral approach in relations with the US, China and South American neighbors.

Milei, on the other hand, has vowed to slash government spending, close the central bank and replace the peso with the US dollar as part of a strategy to rein in inflation. He has called the Chinese “assassins” and said he wouldn’t talk with “communist” governments in Latin America, including those of Brazil, Colombia and Chile. 

Peronism’s Resilience 

After years of political scandals and economic crises under Peronist governments, many expected the political force that dominated Argentina’s politics for the past 70 years to have its worst electoral performance ever. 

In fact, Massa only received about 24% of the votes in the August primary, one of the worst results for a leading Peronist candidate since Argentina’s return to democracy in 1983. But the economy minister managed to turn around his campaign by boosting government spending, launching a fear campaign against Milei and bringing on some of the political advisers who helped elect Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last year. 

The strategy worked and Massa led the first round of the October election with about 37% of votes, compared with Milei’s 30%. 

Swing Voters 

In the end, Argentina’s election will likely be decided by those who supported candidates who didn’t make it to the second round, particularly the nearly 24% of voters who cast a ballot for Patricia Bullrich last month. 

Many of those voters now find themselves in the unenviable position of having to choose between two polarizing candidates they dislike. 

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Updated: 19 Nov 2023, 07:27 PM IST

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