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Argentina Election Chaos: Milei’s Allegations Stir Electoral Tensions

In a controversial turn of events, Javier Milei, the presidential candidate in Argentina, vehemently questions the integrity of the electoral process, alleging irregularities in the pivotal election on October 22. Without concrete legal substantiation for his claims, Milei, who secured second place with 30% of the votes, accuses the system of casting doubt on the results.

Strategic Ballot Maneuver

Milei’s skepticism intensifies as the country gears up for the decisive run-off vote. In a strategic maneuver, his party, La Libertad Avanza (LLA), opts to withhold a substantial number of ballot papers originally destined for election authorities in Buenos Aires, the nation’s largest province. This unorthodox decision triggers alarm bells, setting the stage for a tense culmination of the electoral campaign.

Disputed Electoral Process

In Argentina, each political party is tasked with printing its own ballots, funded significantly by the state. The run-off’s allocation for both Milei and Sergio Massa, the left-wing Peronist candidate leading with close to 37%, amounts to a staggering 258.3 million pesos. Post-printing, parties dispatch the ballots to the Electoral Justice body for distribution via the state mail company to various polling stations. LLA’s deviation from this norm adds a layer of complexity to an already contentious campaign.

The discord unfolds just hours before a crucial televised debate between the candidates. The Buenos Aires Electoral Board raises concerns, citing that LLA presented a notably reduced quantity of ballots in unconventional closed cardboard boxes or black plastic bags, hindering verification processes and causing delays.

LLA’s Unconventional Approach

In response, LLA contends that the funds received were utilized for ballot printing and defends the decision to retain a considerable portion until election day. The party argues that this meticulous oversight is the only way to ensure the presence of valid LLA ballots at every voting station.

Buenos Aires Battleground

The province of Buenos Aires becomes the focal point of Milei’s discontent, being the battleground with the highest stakes in the election. With 13.1 million voters, victory in Buenos Aires virtually guarantees success at the national level. Massa, Milei, and the third-placed party, Together for Change, engage in a delicate dance for the support of the 2.3 million votes secured by the latter in Buenos Aires.

Typically, LLA would be expected to provide 350 ballots to each of the 38,074 polling stations. However, in many instances, this quantity falls significantly short. LLA representative Santiago Viola insists that the party adheres to legal resolutions and supplies ballots as deemed necessary.

Are left-wing cheating?

Milei’s allegations of irregularities remain confined to the public domain, with no formal complaints filed through the justice system. Critics draw parallels between this strategy and the tactics employed by figures like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro to sow doubt in the event of an unfavorable outcome.

As Argentina approaches the 40th anniversary of its return to democracy, the resilience of its electoral system faces a critical test on the eve of the run-off vote.

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