Bloomberg – Argentina’s top two presidential candidates, set to face off in a run-off election on November 19, have diametrically opposing views on everything, from economic to foreign policies, and most notably, on what the ideal size and role of the state should be. Sergio Massa’s surprising comeback was in no small measure influenced by the social programmes he expanded on the eve of the election. But it was also the result of a marketing campaign showing how much higher prices of fuel, utilities and public transportation would be if his adversary, Javier Milei, becomes president and he delivers on a pledge to scrap all subsidies. While Argentina’s fiscal policies are unsustainable – the Central Bank can’t keep financing government spending without fanning inflation that’s already running at 138 percent a year – Massa knows how poor Argentines rely on subsidies to survive the economic crisis hs own policies have created.
While touting his relationship with US administration officials, Massa has deepend Argentina’s diplomatic ties with China and Brazil, the country’s top trading partners. He returned from Beijing earlier this year with China’s approval to spend more from a swap line between both countries. Brazil’s president, Inácio Lula da Silva also supported Massa’s presidential bid, advising him to disregard austerity commitments made to the IMF and do the necessary to win the election. A team of marketing advisers from Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) was also sent to Buenos Aires to work on Massa’s campaign.
Milei, on the other hand, has said he would cut diplomatic ties with Lula and chinese leader, Xi Jinping, calling the latter an “assassin”, who doesn’t allow his people to live freely. Instead, Milei wants to improve ties with the United States and Israel. Climate change is another point of diversion, with the libertarian candidate saying global warming is not the result of human action. Massa, on the contrary, vowed to promote environmental policies consistent with economic growth.