On August 13, 2023, Argentine citizens took to the polls to participate in the primaries in anticipation of national elections on October 22. Coming out on top was the Libertad Avanza party headed by the far-right libertarian candidate Javier Milei, garnering 29.86% of the vote, followed Juntos por el Cambio, headed by Patricia Bullrich with 28%, and Sergio Massa of the Unión por la Patria party with 27.28%. The candidates present vastly different visions for the future of the country, which finds itself in the middle of a major economic crisis, plagued with sky-high inflation, exhausted international reserves, and low savings.
What plans do the candidates have to address the fiscal, monetary, and structural issues Argentina faces, and what will appeal to voters? Does any presidential candidate have the ability to win in the first round? The Georgetown Americas Institute is pleased to welcome Rev. Rodrigo Zarazaga, S.J., GAI visiting fellow and director of Instituto Universitario Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS), to discuss the complexities and possible outcomes of the upcoming national elections in Argentina in a conversation moderated by Alejandro Werner, GAI founding director.
Rev. Rodrigo Zarazaga, S.J., is a visiting fellow with the Georgetown Americas Institute as well as director and lead researcher of the Instituto Universitario Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS). He is a Jesuit priest and holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, a postdoctoral certificate from the University of Notre Dame, as well as a bachelor of philosophy and bachelor of theology at the University of Buenos Aires. Zarazaga is also an adjunct researcher at the National Council for Science Research Research Techniques in Argentina (CONICET). His work focuses on the issues of redistribution, poverty, clientelism, and electoral politics. Author of the book The Poverty of a Rich Country (2002) and compiler of "Infinite Conurbano: Political and Social Actors, Between State Presence and Illegality (2017), his research has been published in Latin American Politics and Society, Journal of Theoretical Politics, World Development, Journal of Democracy, Journal of Applied Economics, Postscript, SAAP Magazine, as well as studies in comparative international development, governance, and economic development. Zarazaga has been awarded honors such as the Konex Award 2018 Diploma of Merit and Social Leaders; he cofounded the group Seamos Uno. He has been interviewed and has published numerous articles in media outlets such as La Nation, Clarín, Page 12, Profile, El Pais, the Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the WCNN, Radio Mitre, Radio Continental, and Radio 10.
Alejandro Werner is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from ITAM.