Argentines are voting in an election that could lead a Trump-admiring populist to the presidency

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Voters in Argentina go to the polls on Sunday in a presidential runoff election that will determine whether South America’s second-largest economy shifts to the right.

Populist Javier Miley, an upstart candidate who started out as a TV spokesman, is often likened to former US President Donald Trump. He faces Economy Minister Sergio Massa of the Peronist party, which has been a leading force in Argentine politics for decades.

Under Massa, the inflation rate rose to more than 140% and poverty increased. the following, He describes himself as an anarcho-capitalistHe proposes reducing the size of the state and curbing inflation, while Massa warns people of the negative effects of such policies.

Highly polarized elections force many to decide which option they consider to be the less bad.

“Whatever happens in this election is going to be unbelievable,” said Lucas Romero, director of local political consulting firm Synopsys. “It would be incredible for Massa to win in this economic context or for Miley to win against a professional candidate like Massa.”

Voting centers open at eight in the morning (1100 GMT) and close ten hours later. Voting is done using paper ballots, making the counting process unpredictable, but preliminary results were expected about three hours after polling stations closed.

Miley went from attacking the country’s “political class” on television to winning a seat in Parliament two years ago. The economist’s beliefs resonated widely with Argentines angry about their struggle to make ends meet, especially young people.

“The money covers less and less every day. I am a qualified person, and my salary is not enough for anything,” Esteban Medina, a 26-year-old physical therapist from Ezeiza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, told The Associated Press on the sidelines of Miley’s conference. Earlier this week.

Massa, as one of the most prominent figures in a deeply unpopular administration, was seen as having little chance of winning. But he managed to mobilize Networks of his Peronist party He won decisive first place in the first round of voting.

His Argentine campaign has warned that his liberal opponent’s plan to abolish key ministries and sharply shrink the state will threaten public services, including health, education, and social welfare programs that many depend on. Massa also drew attention to his opponent’s often aggressive rhetoric and publicly questioned his mental acuity. Before the first round, Miley sometimes carried a Speeding up the saw in marches.

“Massa’s only chance to win this election when people want change…is to make this election a referendum on whether or not Miley is qualified to be president,” said Ana Ibaragiri, partner at pollster GBAO Strategies.

Maile accused Massa and his allies of running a “campaign of fear” and backed away from some of his most controversial proposals, such as relaxing gun control. In his latest campaign ad, Miley looks into the camera and assures voters that he has no plans to privatize education or health care.

Most pre-election polls, which have been largely wrong on every step of this year’s campaign, show a statistical tie between the candidates. Voters for first-round candidates who did not make it to the runoff will be the base. Patricia Bullrich, who placed third Miley supported.

Javier Rojas, a 36-year-old pediatrician who voted for Bullrich in October, told the Associated Press that he was leaning toward Miley, then added: “Well, to be honest, it’s more of a vote against the other side than anything else.”

Highlighting the bitter division this campaign has brought to the forefront, Miley He received both jeers and cheers Friday night at the legendary Colon Theater in Buenos Aires.

Voting takes place among the following Allegations of possible election fraud, reminiscent of the statements of Trump and former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Without providing evidence, Miley claimed that the first round of the presidential elections was marred by irregularities that affected the outcome. Experts say such irregularities cannot influence the election, and that their assertions are partly aimed at galvanizing their base and motivating their supporters to become poll watchers.

Such claims spread widely on social media, and at Miley’s rally in Ezeiza earlier this week, all those interviewed told the AP they were concerned about the integrity of the vote.

“You don’t need to show statistically significant errors — if you draw enough attention to one problem at a polling station that likely won’t affect the results in any meaningful way, people are likely to overestimate the frequency and impact of that problem and others,” said Fernanda Borrell, of “There are problems with elections in general,” the Washington-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems said in an email.


Associated Press writer Almudena Calatrava contributed to this report.

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