The polls are closed in Argentina and now we have to wait for the result. The National Electoral Directorate (DNE) should release a first balance of the count at 9pm (same time as Brasília) and the name of the new president (the Peronist Sergio Massa or the ultra-liberal Javier Milei) should be known this Sunday night (19) . Keep an eye on the website and social media Brazil in fact to receive the most important information.
The DNE said that 76% of Argentine voters turned out to vote, a percentage slightly above that recorded in the first round (74%) at the time the polls closed. The turnout rate in the first round was later consolidated at 77%.
This year’s election, held in the context of a deep crisis, is considered the most disputed in the country’s history and must be decided in detail. The campaign of Massa, current Minister of Economy, bet on instilling fear in voters in the face of Milei’s proposals, such as dollarization, the closure of the Central Bank and the exit from Mercosur. When voting, the candidate stated that Argentina needs to enter a new phase, which requires, “in addition to good will, intelligence and capacity, the dialogue and consensus necessary for our country to follow a much more virtuous path”.
Milei hit hard on Massa’s responsibility for the economic problems and the need to change the country’s political course, which has always had alternation of power restricted to Peronists and radicals, a dichotomy changed by Milei’s rise. “Let’s hope that for tomorrow (20) there will be more hope, and not so much continuity and decay. May we have a new president elected tonight,” he said. “We are very satisfied, despite the fear campaign and all the dirty campaign they carried out against us.”
Despite the campaign being harsh and polarized, including accusations — without evidence — of the reliability of the electoral system by Milei’s campaign, the vote took place without serious incidents. One of the few abnormal records was that of a 16-year-old teenager detained in Buenos Aires on charges of stealing ballots to harm the ultraliberal candidate.
After receiving a complaint that a voter was trying to vote more than once, the police arrested him and found several of Milei’s ballots with him. In Argentina, voting takes place using paper ballots. And the ballots are provided by the campaigns. It is up to the voter to choose the ballot for their favorite candidate and deposit it in the ballot box.
Voting is mandatory for the approximately 35 million eligible Argentines (between 18 and 70 years old) and anyone who doesn’t show up has to justify it or pay a negligible fine (at most, the equivalent of less than R$7). In the first round, there was 26% abstention, the highest rate in Argentine history. For the second round, it was feared that the number would rise because Monday (20) is a holiday.
Although the result is expected for Sunday night, it will be a report without legal validity, which only serves to “inform the citizenry”, according to the head of the electoral body, Marcos Schiavi. The definitive result will be made official 48 hours after voting ends.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho