Weekly Report - 07 September 2023 (WR-23-36)

ARGENTINA: Milei pulls clear but risks overstepping the mark

Recent opinion surveys in Argentina suggest that Javier Milei has opened up a gap over his main rivals ahead of presidential elections on 22 October, principally at the expense of Patricia Bullrich, the candidate of the traditional right-of-centre opposition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC). If this tendency continues, and Bullrich falls further adrift as voters see Milei as the chief option to stop the ruling Peronist candidate, Sergio Massa, it raises the possibility that Milei could win in the first round. Outright victory requires 45% of the vote, or 40% plus a 10-percentage-point lead over second place. But just as this threshold appears to be within reach, Milei and his running mate are risking going too far by challenging sacred cows that could deter undecided voters or Bullrich supporters from backing them: the official narrative and cross-party political consensus on the military dictatorship; and the figure of Pope Francis.

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