Together for Change, the coalition of the main anti-Peronist forces of the center-right (Pro) and center-left (Radical Civic Union, UCR, and Civic Coalition, CC) in Argentina, is about will explode after 8 years. The victory of the Peronist Sergio Massa in the first round of the presidency and the fact that the libertarian Javier Milei surpassed the Juntos candidate, Patricia Bullrich, forced the coalition parties to choose one of their two opponents before the second round, which will be held on November 19. And Bullrich and former president Mauricio Macri chose Milei, against their colleagues.
“We defend the values of change and freedom,” the candidate said at a press conference, joining the names of his coalition with Miles. “Argentina cannot restart a new Kirchnerist cycle under the dominance of corrupt populism, which will condemn Argentina to its final decline,” he said. The decision, very controversial, was made individually by the candidate and the former president, and has not yet been approved by Pro: “We do not come to represent our parties, but our 6 million voters,” he said. And he explained that he has no agreement with the libertarian: “This is a political position.”
Bullrich and Milei both proposed dollarization of the country, albeit in different ways: the JxC leader suggested doing it gradually and maintaining the peso within a “monetary” system supported by an independent Central Bank, while Milei asked to eliminate the burden. immediately. Bullrich also suggested finding a budget surplus, while Milei wanted to cut GDP spending by 15 points at a time and lower or eliminate many taxes.
The crisis has been developing ever since the election. Milei winked at the Pro in his speech, asking for the support of the candidate he called “terrorist”, “bomb-thrower” and “assassin” in the first presidential debate, invoking the need to “end Kirchnerism.” “Last night I had a meeting with Milei in the private sphere and I accepted his apology for what he said, it is necessary to forgive,” replied Bullrich to justify his support, explaining that he will withdraw the complaint due to the insults and slander that he filed against the libertarian.
For his part, Massa offered the UCR a place within a “Government of national unity” and appealed to the need to stop the extreme right represented by Milei. And the libertarian did not help, bragging about doing therapy by “hitting a doll in the face of Raúl Alfonsín”, the historical leader of the UCR and first democratic president after the end of Videla’s military dictatorship.
Both sectors received the messages. Bullrich and Macri met with libertarians to discuss the conditions for electoral support, while the leaders of the UCR and CC warned that they would accept neutrality in order not to break up the coalition. When the Pro leaders’ support for Milei was leaked, the UCR called its board meeting, and several officials said, in their capacity, that they preferred Massa. As if that wasn’t enough, the leader of the CC, Elisa Carrió, accused Macri of being “always with Milei.”
A sung breakup
On Monday we already saw this breakup coming. JxC sources told economists that they estimate that “twelve-thirds” of their voters will go to Milei, and that there will be “many abstentions” among others. The question, however, is whether all Pro leaders will accept the decision or whether there will also be an internal rift. Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (Pro), the outgoing mayor of Buenos Aires, experienced a difficult battle in the primaries against Bullrich that left many wounds in the coalition that remain unhealed.
In the previous elections, Massa won 1.8 million votes, and could easily get 2.5 million more who supported another Peronist candidate (Juan Schiaretti) and the left. To overcome that difference, Milei needs 6.2 million votes that went to Bullrich, but the more voters who did not or went to Massa, the more difficult the accounts are for him. And facing the legislature, the UCR is at the center of two chambers: its seats are needed to form a parliamentary majority in Congress and needed for a hypothetical anti-Peronist coalition in the Senate.
This move leaves the second round wide open, as the open support of Bullrich is the key for Milei to have a real chance of winning. Now the question is whether the collapse and reorganization of Argentina’s party system predicted by the libertarian will leave him with a majority or a minority.