Argentines are preparing to vote in a primary election this Sunday, which will serve as a crucial indicator for the upcoming October general elections. The results of this primary will provide insight into the level of enthusiasm for change in a country that is currently experiencing one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
The primary election will determine the presidential candidate for the main center-right opposition coalition, with Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta facing off against former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich. The winner of this primary is likely to compete against Economy Minister Sergio Massa, who is facing a challenge from a leftist candidate within the ruling coalition. The current center-left President Alberto Fernández has opted not to seek reelection due to his extremely low approval ratings, as the country grapples with annual inflation surpassing 100%, increasing poverty, and a rapidly depreciating currency.
Additionally, the primary will shed light on the popularity of right-wing populist candidate Javier Milei, who has drawn support from voters with his anti-establishment message, particularly resonating with the younger generation. Milei, an admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has attracted attention throughout the campaign, and the primary will reveal the extent of his traction with voters.
While the campaign primarily focused on economic issues, crime unexpectedly took center stage in the final days leading up to the primary. This shift followed the tragic death of an 11-year-old girl during a snatch-and-grab robbery in a Buenos Aires suburb. Furthermore, there was outrage in Buenos Aires over the death of a leftist political activist who suffered a heart attack while being detained by police during a protest.
Participation in the primary election is mandatory, and in the lead-up to the vote, many residents of Buenos Aires expressed frustration with politicians and expressed doubt that any real change would occur. Jennifer Marín, a retail worker, expressed her skepticism, stating, “Whoever comes out on top, things will remain the same. I sincerely don’t believe in any of them.”
As Argentines prepare to cast their votes in the primary election, they hope that the results will provide clarity on the direction the country will take. With an ailing economy and mounting social issues, the outcome of this election will undoubtedly shape the political landscape leading up to the general elections in October.