Argentina. Elections 2023: From Milei’s win to the FITU’s vote, our main conclusions

The PASO (Primary) elections have passed and left surprises and changes in the perspectives towards the general elections. We share some first opinions on several of the central issues under debate; the reasons for Milei’s win, the scope of the blow received by Juntos por el Cambio and Unión por la Patria. The vote of the Left Front in general and the result of our list that did not win at the national level, but did obtain a key victory in the Capital of the country and in several provinces.

The triumph of Javier Milei

When the first results began to be known, surprise invaded journalism; Milei was winning in key districts. And that was consolidated throughout the hours until certifying at the end of the count that the candidate of “La Libertad Avanza” had won more than 30% of the votes. Not only was he the candidate with the most votes for president, but his votes exceeded the sum of both Juntos por el Cambio candidates and the sum of both Unión por la Patria candidates.

The reasons for his triumph have to do with the fact that he was able to channel a large part of the accumulated discontent against the current government and the parties that have governed, which, first with Macri’s PRO government and now with these four years of Peronism with Fernández, have led the country to a catastrophe in which millions live worse and worse. Taking into account the disaster of this latest PJ government, we can say that once again, as happened before in Brazil and other countries, the so-called progressives who apply austerity when they govern end up favoring right-wing variants, in this case Milei, due to the frustration and general discontent they cause.

In this case and within the framework of the situation of general crisis, with the economy increasingly out of control in recent months and the last week marked by a new jump in the price of the dollar, the murder of a girl in Lanus and the police murderer of a protestor at the Obelisk, a combo of economic-social crisis was generated that ended up strengthening the anger against governments when it came to voting, mainly through the vote for Milei and on the other hand expressing that another sector was not going to vote (only 68% did vote) and another part of the population voted blank.

The fact that more than seven million people voted for an openly right-wing, retrograde and anti-rights candidate shows that there is a shift to the right in the situation, at least at the electoral level, this fact cannot be denied. But we cannot fail to see that this is combined with an angry vote of broad swaths of people that took him as a tool to punish the establishment. And now they have left this outrageous right-winger, facing the general elections as a possible winner to reach the ballotage after October.

The vote in general, with a high percentage voting for right-wing variants or for Massa, who is the architect of the pact with the IMF, confirms what we proposed throughout the campaign: that the left has to prepare for a complex and tense country ahead. That there will be more IMF, more austerity and attempts to take away social and democratic rights, with more repression to apply those policies and more social responses and struggles.

A blow to the PRO and the PJ

The two main coalitions, which all the major pro-government and opposition media projected as most voted and helped prior to Sunday, suffered a tremendous political blow when both were defeated by Milei. Their leadership structures are left in crisis and place the country’s capitalist regime in more crisis and uncertainty, in the face of what is to come.

In the case of Juntos por el Cambio, Patricia Bullrich with the support of Macri was the winner over Larreta who achieved a very weak vote. Bullrich did not even reach 20% of votes, remaining twelve points below Milei, who stole her space and discourse, now appearing with better chances for those who want that type of profile and proposals. Bullrich will have to work hard to try to reach the second round and she does not have it at all guaranteed. She is heading into a very difficult situation in the general election, although, at the same time, it is not ruled out that she can advance due to the crisis of the ruling party.

In the case of Peronism and Unión por la Patria, their plans did not work out at all. Only Kicillof was able to win in Buenos Aires, although by a slight margin. Sergio Massa was betting on being individually the candidate with the most votes, even if he lost as a front, and thus reach the general election in better conditions. He was unable to achieve this, falling far behind Milei and overall as a front somewhat below Juntos por el Cambio, while inside the front, so-called Kirchnerism is very blurred out. Likewise, to the extent that the winner is Milei, Massa will try to grow and reach the ballotage by taking advantage of the fear of a large segment of the population that Milei will be president. He will appeal as much as possible to that, beginning by trying to keep all the votes gained by Grabois, who had a good result, exceeding 5% of the votes, and from there trying to attract another layer that did not vote or vote for Larreta. What works against their attempts to grow is that they are in government, they apply austerity measures daily and that limits them, like the devaluation they implemented today. That framework will create difficulties for you.

The national vote of the Left Front

Our front obtained just over 628,000 votes in the presidential category, with the Bregman and del Caño ticket winning over our list of Solano and Ripoll, and a slightly higher vote in legislative positions. The votes achieved took place within the complex framework of the general crisis and a scenario more shifted to the right, which was a difficulty for the left. Additionally, Grabois’s list acted as a contention dam for discontent within Peronism. In this context, the FITU vote was somewhat less than in the 2019 presidential elections, but it also reflected an important fact: the consolidation of an important layer of voters who continue to choose the anti-capitalist and socialist left despite the difficult situation. This is an important fact to keep in mind. Something that, for example, on the left did not happen to the Nuevo MAS of Castañeira, who spoke in the campaign of “renewing the left,” but with its marked sectarianism towards the FITU and its rejection of unity, fell significantly in votes, dropping to a very low 0.35%, a strong failure.

Maintaining this important working class social base is a conquest of our front that deserves to be vindicated and confirms the value of this unity of the left beyond all its weaknesses. In this context, it is also good to point out that we were unable to advance in this case and we did not manage to attract a new layer of discontented people or lead a new layer to choose to punish the establishment with the left. This, in our opinion, speaks to the problems in the politics and orientation that our front has and that we have insistently pointed out all these years, before and during the electoral campaign.

Based on this general vote of the FIT Unity, we value the campaign carried out by our list “Unity of fighters and the left” of the MST and PO, which fought throughout the country and won in CABA, Salta, Catamarca and Chaco, and in some categories in other provinces, with a great campaign also in Buenos Aires with Bodart as a candidate for governor. And we did so by proposing a project for a stronger, more convening, more democratic front that promotes the permanent organization of working class struggles so that it ceases to be just an electoral front, something that the PTS mistakenly does not propose. Not having won nationally on this occasion does not eliminate the need to continue fighting for our project, on the contrary, it enhances that need. And for this reason, we place everything achieved by our list at the service of continuing to fight to improve and strengthen the Left Front, so that it can play a positive role in the country to come.

Of course, as part of this political struggle, we are now preparing to wage a strong electoral battle in the campaign towards the October 22 elections, now doing so from the common lists of the entire Left Front throughout the country, with the presidential ticket that won and with our MST membership integrating the FITU lists throughout the country. And we will do so in strength and against all the lists of Milei, the PJ and Juntos por el Cambio. We will do so as a new chapter in the struggle against the plans that are ahead, a struggle that we will deepen against the candidate and party that will finally become government at the end of the year.

Our significant victory in CABA with Cele Fierro

If there is a significant and important result in the FITU primary, it is that in the Capital of the country with Cele Fierro as legislator and Vanina Biasi as Chief of Government, we won by obtaining more than 65% of the votes against the PTS list and Izquierda Socialista list. In this way, the two of them will be the front’s formula in October, a very outstanding achievement of our list in the PASO.

In this key district we are heading into a great political struggle against Jorge Macri, the PRO’s candidate, against Peronism led by Santoro and against Marra, Milei’s candidate. And with our comrade from the MST Cele Fierro we are going to be leading the struggle to strengthen the Left Front in the legislature, a huge and important political task that we assumed with determination and gained the support of thousands of workers and youth from the Capital City this Sunday. This being the place where there are the highest probabilities of obtaining legislators of the left and our front, increasing the representation of our block there.

We will fight this political battle with all our might because it is necessary and because of the political importance of the country’s Capital. And for the same reason we invite all our supporters and friends to join the campaign, since achieving one or more seats in the legislature will be a new political conquest and struggle for the Left Front and our party, which we will make available to strengthen all the political and social struggles that are coming in the Capital City and throughout the country.