On Nov. 19, more than 35 million Argentines will go to the polls to elect the president who will direct the country’s destinies for the next four years starting Dec.10.

There are two candidates who will participate in the elections. One for the ruling party and another for the opposition. Representing the government is the Minister of Economy Sergio Massa, who until a few years ago was an opponent of the current government party. Opposing him will be Javier Milei, a liberal economist and current deputy in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Argentina’s Congress), who has received the support of former President Mauricio Macri (2015-2019).

In the first round, where participation was 77.65 percent of the electorate, Sergio Massa won with 36.78 percent over Javier Milei, who obtained 29.99 percent.

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Massa has not managed to stabilize the economy and reverse the situation in which the country finds itself: poverty of 42,9 percent, year-on-year inflation of 142.7 percent, a country risk of 2,397 and a dollar at 950 pesos.

Massa is a 51-year-old lawyer who has a vast career in Argentine politics. Since 1999 he has held different political positions and traveled through different political spaces. He is married to Malena Galmarini who presides over the state company Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos (AySA). They have two children.

The current Minister of Economy and candidate appointed by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), before becoming a member of President Alberto Fernández’s cabinet (2019-2023) on July 28, 2022, spoke of the Russian invasion as one of the most serious events in recent decades that not only endangers the Ukrainian people, but the entire world.

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But once he took office, he put aside that claim and went on to justify the state of the Argentine economy based on the impact that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had on the country: a loss of $4.94 billion during 2022.

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At this point, we must remember that the Argentine government has been very close to the Kremlin with the objective of entering the BRICS, an economic and commercial bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

That goal that has been achieved, and as of Jan. 1, 2024, Argentina will join the bloc along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Iran.

Argentina has an international arrest warrant (valid until Nov. 7, 2027), through Interpol, for five Iranian citizens for the attack against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association where 85 people died. They are: Mohsen Rezai, Ali Fallahijan, Ahmad Vahidi, Mohsen Rabbani and Ahmad Reza Asghari.

Due to the interest of the Argentine government, President Fernández visited Moscow in the first days of February 2022 and met with Vladimir Putin. Five months later, with the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory underway, the summit of presidents of MERCOSUR held in Paraguay denied participation to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Contrary to Massa’s change of position, Milei quickly established a position through his criticism of Fernández, demanding a strong position and condemnation of Putin’s decision.

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He also agreed with Donald Trump that the conflict that keeps the world in suspense is a consequence of Joe Biden’s “weakness” in the face of the offensive initiated by Putin. Likewise, he assured that, in a future government of his, he would never support an autocratic regime like that of Russia. And he assured that he does not make deals with murderers. Referring to Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un and Putin.

In the last debate prior to the elections this Sunday, Nov. 19, Massa maintained that Argentina has the responsibility, in an absolutely convulsed world, to think about its foreign policy in defense of Argentine interests and called for deepening relations with the two main commercial partners: Brazil and China.

On the other hand, Milei, who systematically established his alignment with the United States and Israel, indicated that he is not willing to propose bilateral relations with those governments that do not respect democracy and individual freedoms.

In a gesture towards the Ukrainian people, on March 1, 2022, a few days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Milei attended the 140th opening of sessions of the National Congress with the Ukrainian flag in his hands.

On Dec. 10, a new president will take over the government of Argentina. If Massa wins the elections, the country will increase its relationship with Russia; however, if Milei wins, the closeness will be with the White House and not with the Kremlin.

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