BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — This may sound familiar: A self-described outsider aims to win the presidency and cleanse the political establishment so he can restore order in a broken nation — if only he can overcome a system rigged against him.
But this is not what happened to former President Donald Trump, or even what is happening in the United States, he is Argentinian Presidential candidate Javier Mileythe newest politician to follow Trump’s rules of the game They claim that the election results are questionable and that gatekeepers may deprive him of the highest office in the country.
Analysts say it is a tactic Shoot Miley’s base Promoting vigilance at polling stations, or paving the way for refusal to acknowledge loss.
The right-wing economist has gained notoriety by attacking the political class on television, and has welcomed comparisons to Trump. His message that the corrupt elite has left the country behind resonates with Argentines who deal with it High poverty And 142% annual inflation.
the following Represents unrestAnd skepticism about the electoral system – in a country that is widely trusted – is right. Since Argentina’s return to democracy half a century ago, no candidate in any national race has formally challenged the results, according to the Electoral Appeals Tribunal.
Opinion polls before the elections in the runoff that will be held on November 19 between Miley and Economy Minister Sergio Massa show a tight competition.
Before the first round, most showed Miley narrowly ahead Massa won easily, by 7 percentage points. Allegations of fraud spread on social media, and some of Miley’s supporters volunteered to monitor voting at more than 100,000 polling stations in the country.
Luis Bolero, 30, is one of them. He had little interest in politics, and although voting was compulsory, he had never cast a vote before. But Miley “sparked the passion in me,” Bolero said at a small gathering in Ezeiza, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Argentine capital.
He says he is disgusted that the ruling party might steal the presidency. “I’ve been watching it on TikTok videos; “All the fraud that has been done seems wrong and undemocratic,” said Paulero, a ride-hailing app driver.
At least in part, Miley is raising the fraud allegations himself. In an interview on November 7, he said that the first round of voting was not clean.
“There were irregularities of such a magnitude that the result was in doubt,” Miley said. He continued: “Whoever counts the votes controls everything.”
Previously, Miley had said they were not due to fraud During the primaries in AugustHe would have received 35% of the vote instead of 30%.
No evidence was provided in either case. However, die-hard boosterists brought signs reading “Don’t mess with my vote!” “One stolen vote is a fraud!” To small marches.
Elections in Argentina have always seen some irregularities, but not enough to change the results, Gala Diaz Lango, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Implementation to Promote Equity and Growth, told the Buenos Aires-based think tank.
Numerous claims on social media suggested that nearly 1,700 polling places recorded zero votes for Miley in the preliminary results of the first round — “statistically impossible,” Miley and her supporters said.
But an analysis by Argentine fact-checking agency Chiquedo showed that almost all of those stations had no votes for any candidate, suggesting their results had not been uploaded. The number of positions where one candidate received zero votes but other candidates received votes was similar to Mele and Massa.
The voting process in Argentina is undoubtedly archaic. Polling stations have paper ballots for each party, and voters choose the paper they want, put it in an envelope which they place in a cardboard ballot box.
It is easier for voters to steal or shred ballots because they alone enter the room where the ballots are. Voting observers ensure that they are replaced, and supervise the counting of votes. Recruiting enough of them poses a challenge for Miley’s nascent Liberty Advances party.
Brian Winter, a veteran expert on Argentina and vice president of the New York-based Council of the Americas, said that while questioning the shortcomings of Argentina’s voting system should not be taboo, sowing doubt around it is a political strategy.
“It shows he sees some risks that he might lose. You don’t say these things from a position of strength.”
Miley’s national network is far outweighed by the power of Massa’s Peronism, a shadowy movement with both left-wing and right-wing factions that has been the driving force behind Miley’s success. The dominant force in Argentine politics for decades. As such, he summoned his followers to monitor the elections.
On Thursday, Miley’s party filed a complaint with an election judge, initially asserting “massive fraud” and making headlines, but later backtracking on the claims and saying its goal was merely to urge authorities to take “strict precautions.”
Miley is working to “make sure he rallies people and gives his base a reason to fight for, and makes them feel like they’re being bullied and not being taken into account, and that Peronism is trying to impose its will on everyone,” says Ana Ibaraguirre, partner at pollster GBAO Strategies. Phone from Buenos Aires.
But Carlos Andres Ferreira, the campaign chairman for Miley’s party in Fiorito, a working-class city on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, said many Argentines hate spending 12 hours observing the vote and then scrutinizing the count.
In the first round, Maile’s party had observers in just over half of Fiorito’s 200 voting centers, Ferreira said. At one school, Ferreira was horrified to find that seven of his party’s eight observers had failed to show up. He said some of his peers speculated they were getting paid to stay home, and that he believed voting counters at unattended tables netted half of Miley’s votes.
“They are bandits. They do not believe in democracy. They are fascists,” Ferreira said, adding that the number of votes for Miley at stations where his party had observers was about twice the number of votes at other stations. “I do not believe in coincidences.”
The ability to object to results is an essential part of any democratic process. There are signs that undocumented Trump-style challenges have spread around the world, Kevin Casas-Zamora, secretary-general of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, said by phone from Stockholm.
Some of Trump’s comments came in the context of allegations of fraud by the military-backed party in Myanmar after its defeat in November 2020 – which were… It was rejected by the Election Commission of the Asian country – As well as in baseless fraud Allegations of Peruvian candidate Keiko Fujimori After losing the 2021 race.
His most obvious imitator was former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Like Trump, he first challenged the results that brought him to the presidency; He said his margin of victory should have been larger, although he provided no evidence. Before Bolsonaro’s re-election bid Attack the reliability of the system And then He sought scrutiny This failed. Refusal to concede, and His supporters rioted in the capital.
Beatrice Bosanich, president of Via Libre, a nonprofit that has worked on voting reform issues, said Miley is undoubtedly “laying the groundwork to not recognize the outcome of the election if they lose.”
Speaking on Thursday, Massa told reporters it would be “extremely harmful” to follow Trump and Bolsonaro’s rejection of the results.
Winter, of the Council of the Americas, said that while his allegations of fraud clearly reflect the influence of Trump and Bolsonaro, they do not represent any existential risk to Argentina’s strong democracy. Unlike the previous American and Brazilian presidents, he does not control the levers of power he might need to overturn the results.
Furthermore, Miley’s new allies appear reluctant to support the fraud allegations.
Patricia Bullrich, the candidate of the country’s main opposition coalition who finished third in the first round and then endorsed Miley, said in an interview that she did not believe there was fraud of the magnitude of influence in the election. At the same time, she called on her supporters to become observers.
Diaz Lango, of the Buenos Aires-based think tank, said he believed it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to steal the election in Argentina. He added that fraud allegations remain a threat.
He added, “These rumors of fraud could erode the legitimacy of any government that takes power, regardless of the winner, and this could lead to problems in the medium term, beyond the elections.”