Weekly Report - 05 October 2023 (WR-23-40)

ARGENTINA: Milei maintains pole position after debate

Argentina’s five presidential candidates faced off against one another in the first of two presidential debates on 1 October. Given the adverse polls, it was anticipated that Patricia Bullrich, the candidate for the right-of-centre Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), would dig deep to make an impression on voters and capitalise on her coalition’s recent provincial election successes. In the event she failed to land any telling blows on her two main rivals, the far-right populist candidate, Javier Milei, and the economy minister and candidate of the ruling Peronist coalition Unión por la Patria (UP), Sergio Massa. Unless Bullrich can raise her game in the second debate on 8 October, she faces elimination in the first round two weeks later. It is not inconceivable that Milei could win outright in the first round, although a run-off in November against Massa is the most likely scenario at present.

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