The possibility that a large portion of the electorate will not vote in Argentina’s primary elections next Sunday (13) is one of the concerns surrounding the election, according to political analysts interviewed by the Brazil in fact. The vote decides which candidates will run for the presidency, legislative and governments, in the first round, on October 22nd.

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“In the 1980s, 80% voted; in the 1990s between 80 and 85%; in recent years we have been between 70 and 75%”, said Facundo Cruz, coordinator of the Pulsar laboratory at the University of Buenos Aires, specialized in monitoring public opinion.

The distrust of the electorate was already felt in the regional elections that took place this year. In the province of Córdoba, she reached 40% of voters in the mayoral election.

Political scientist Pablo Garibaldi, also from the University of Buenos Aires, believes that the trend should be confirmed. He considers that in the 2021 legislative elections, “there was a lot of fear in society”, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are also seeing this lower participation in the elections for governors and city halls and everything indicates that we are going to have this in the primaries”, he adds.

Consultancies estimate that participation should be around 70%, one of the lowest since the country’s re-democratization in the 1980s.

Economics and the far right

Among the reasons given for apathy is the disbelief that politics can solve the serious problems facing the Argentine economy. Inflation above 100% per year has been raising poverty rates in the country.

The Sunday elections, called PASO (acronym for Primaries, Open, Simultaneous and Mandatory), were instituted in 2009, to, in theory, give voters the opportunity to choose the names that will come out as candidates for each party. But in many elections since then there have been no real contests, with candidates usually only being ratified at this stage of the process.

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This year, the ultra-right candidate – often compared to Jair Bolsonaro – Javier Milei, from the Freedom Advances coalition, should be made official.

For the Peronist coalition Union for the Fatherland, the current Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, is running with Juan Grabois. On the other hand, for Juntos por el Cambio, pre-candidates Horacio Larreta and Patricia Bullrich, former Minister of Security in Macri’s government, are vying for a vacancy.

Voting intention poll released at the end of June, carried out by CB Consultora, indicated that Massa led with 24% of the preference. Bullrich and Milei would have 17% each, and Larreta, 16%, percentages that indicate a technical tie.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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