Argentina needs a president who respects democracy, says Lula

The run-off elections in the neighboring country are next Sunday

Published on 14/11/2023 - 13:50 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Tuesday (Nov. 14) that Argentina needs a president who likes democracy and respects the nation’s trade alliances in Mercosur. Speaking about the elections in the neighboring country, he said the votes of the Argentinians are sovereign, but urged people to think about Argentina and the kind of South America they want to build.

“I can’t talk about elections in Argentina, because that’s the sovereign right of the people of Argentina. But I’d like to ask you to keep in mind that Brazil needs Argentina and Argentina needs Brazil as well as the jobs that Brazil generates in Argentina and the jobs that Argentina generates in Brazil, the trade flow between the two countries, and how much we can grow together,” he pointed out.

“For this to happen, we need a president who likes democracy, who respects institutions, who likes Mercosur, who likes South America,” the Brazilian president added during the weekly program Conversa com o Presidente, aired on Canal Gov.

Next Sunday (Nov.19), candidates Sergio Massa and Javier Milei will contest Argentina’s presidential run-off. The election is taking place amid the biggest currency crisis in decades as well as skyrocketing inflation rates plaguing the country. In the first round, Massa took the lead with 36.2 percent of the vote, while Milei garnered 30.2 percent.

The hopefuls

Sergio Massa, of the Peronist party Unión por la Patria, is the current economy minister under President Alberto Fernández, with whom President Lula has friendly relations. An experienced politician, the lawyer won his party’s primary after the third attempt. Massa has also been lower house speaker.

A self-described anarchocapitalist, Javier Milei is a member of the conservative La Libertad Avanza coalition and represents extreme liberalism. With a discourse full of twists and turns, he has proposed closing the Central Bank, leaving Mercosur, and dollarizing the economy—a measure seen as unfeasible by less radical economists.

Brazil and Argentina

The president noted that Brazil and Argentina are each other’s biggest trading partners in South America. In 2022, the trade flow between the two countries reached $28.45 billion, with a positive balance of $2.2 billion for Brazil. The highest volume was reported in 2011, when the total value traded neared $40 billion.

“Argentina and Brazil need each other. We need to be together without divergence. When we have a disagreement, we sit down at a table, negotiate, and end the disagreement. That’s how I’ve lived with Argentina until now,” said President Lula.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Maria Claudia

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