Analysts expect tonight’s Argentine presidential electoral debate’s ratings to equal an Argentina-Brazil World Cup game. The stars: opposition candidate Mauricio Macri of the right-wing Cambiemos party and Daniel Scioli of the ruling center-left Frente para la Victora (FPV). The two candidates will come face to face at the University of Buenos Aires’ Faculty of Law later today.
The debate agenda agreed upon by the campaign teams will regard four themes: economic and human development; education and youth; security and human rights; as well as strengthening democratic institutions overall.
Macri – the current favorite in the polls – will be responsible for opening the debate and Scioli will have the last word in a dialogue in which each will be permitted two minutes to further develop topical ideas after which the opponent will have a minute to ask a question or commentary. Each response should last 60 seconds and an additional two minutes dedicated to cross-examinations.
Before what ended up being the first round, all candidates attended a first debate in which the only absent was government-backed Daniel Scioli.
Personal criticism “not personal”
“We seek to be accurate because we understand that the opposition candidate (Macri) is inaccurate,” Scioli criticizes, adding that, “tonight’s debate will be a level rating of 50 points, which means an Argentina versus Brazil in the final of a World Cup. This is an excellent opportunity to face society and not only put out there what goals are to be achieved but the political discussion necessary. We will explain how we want to achieve that and help people to make their final decision. ”
The government candidate said Macri must be “unmasked” because his proposal is to return to neoliberal past.
“(My team) feels very good that I have to debate, because we believe in the process of improving the quality of Argentina’s institutional social program policies,” he told Uruguay’s El Observador.
Meanwhile, Macri expressed opposing ideas to Argentine newspaper La Nacion.
“I hope to rebuild my relationship with Daniel Scioli. He is not the same, something happened. The years affected him because I know him long, we’ve maintained a cordial relationship for 25 years and recent months he does not speak well of me. He has become aggressive, with personalized attacks on me. I know why – Kirchernismo has not done well on him,” Macri counter-attacked.
Meanwhile, speaking to Argentine Radio La Red, Scioli denounced such accusations, claiming they are part of a “smear and fear campaign” against Peronist continuity.
“We aim to reason with the heart of every Argentine. I am a reliable and experienced person and I have great determination to implement the development agenda that Argentina needs,” he asserted. “Ultimately we’re aiming toward the collective consciousness of the people who start definitions of one of the alternatives, we as a counterpart will listen to the people, the criticism and the approach will be different – it will not be confrontational and based on differentiation. Disagreement is not nothing personal – a question of ideas, not people. I think I’m the bridge between what to hold and what to change in the future,” Scioli said.
However, campaign proposals and tonight’s debate are not the only factors expected to influence final electoral results.
Sergio Massa: the “kingmaker”
Sergio Massa was the top third candidate in the first electoral round. While losing the chance to advance onto the second round, the Massa campaign did collect approximately five million votes. The 43-year-old Mayor of the city of Tigre and former Chief of Government is now considered the “kingmaker” in the upcoming presidential elections in Argentina, but asserts to the United Kingdom’s Financial Times that “No, there are five millions kingmakers, not one.”
Since the second round’s begining, Massa’s messages have been famously mixed, one week openly backing Macri, another alluding to Scioli, others stating favoritism of neither.
Confusion was hyped when earlier this week, Massa’s centrist to center-right party Renewal Front released a video that went viral.
“Do not retreat from the ballot boxes,” the spot said to Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawilioe’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” ukulele instrumentals, “On November 22, we unite all Argentines with Scioli”.
“A vote to Macri is a useless vote for change, because many of the people who vote us (Massa’s team) would not choose Macri in a runoff because he is afraid. Argentina wants change, but not one outfitted by mega-devaluation and cutting worker wages, “said Sergio Massa when he was still campaigning.
However, upon asked face-to-face, Massa continues to refuses to bow absolute weight by any of the two candidates, creating uncertainty about the outcome of a close race that will end 12 years of populism under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner.