Milei and Massa

Javier Milei (L) and Sergio Massa. (Image: Pablo Lasanky)

Argentina's 2023 Runoff: Comparing Massa and Milei

By Chase Harrison

Learn about how the candidates differ when it comes to economic policy, endorsements, and coalitions.

This tracker was initially published November 2, and has since been updated.

Argentina’s presidential runoff takes place on November 19 and it’s fair to say it’s a polarized competition. Sergio Massa, current economy minister, won the October 22 first round, defending his approach to stabilizing Argentina’s inflation-battered economy and pitching himself as a unity candidate. He’ll face off against second-place finisher Javier Milei, a libertarian firebrand whose topline position is to dollarize Argentina’s economy. 

How do to the candidates compare? AS/COA looks at their backgrounds, coalitions, and policies on economics, security, and social issues.

Sergio Massa

Massa: Massa began his political career in 1999 as a member of the Buenos Aires Province Assembly. He has since served as the head of the social security administration, a mayor, the cabinet chief for ex-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and the president of the national Chamber of Deputies. President Alberto Fernández appointed Massa as economy minister in July 2022. 


Javier Milei

Milei: An economist by trade, Milei was head of the economics division at a think tank, hosted a radio show, and wrote books explaining his libertarian perspective. In 2021, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the City of Buenos Aires.

Election results

Massa: Massa represents the 18-party Peronist coalition, known as the Union for the Homeland. A longtime force in Argentine politics, the coalition changed its name for this electoral round, has strong grassroots organization, and helped Massa mobilize voters in the first round. 

Milei: Founded in 2021, Milei’s Liberty Advances coalition consists of six parties, which range from center-right to far-right. Milei’s own Libertarian party was founded in 2018. The newness of this party and these coalitions means that Liberty Advances has limited grassroots organization compared with the Peronists. This has presented some challenges, indicated, for example, by claims from the National Electoral Court that Liberty Advances has not provided it with sufficient electoral materials. However, its social media-savvy supporters have helped spread Milei’s message online. 

Milei's coalition has not stayed unified in the second-round campaigning. After Patricia Bullrich, who finished third in the runoff, joined the coalition, several legislators left Liberty Advances in protest of allowing more moderate parties to get involved. 

Running Mate
Agustín Rossi

Massa: Agustín Rossi, a former defense minister for both Fernández de Kirchner and Fernández and current cabinet chief for Fernández, is running on Massa’s ticket. Rossi unsuccessfully ran for president earlier in 2023.  



Victoria Villarruel

Milei: Victoria Villarruel, a national deputy for the city of Buenos Aires, is Milei’s running mate. Villarruel has been criticized for her defense of Argentina’s dictatorship, including questioning the number of citizens killed and disappeared in this period. She proposed closing the Museum of Memory.

Economic Plans

Massa: Massa has defended his record as economy minister during his campaigning. In office, he is implementing price and currency controls to try to tame inflation, which is expected to be 185 percent by the end of the year. Then, in the months leading up to the election, he introduced measures to stimulate the economy, including a $1.3 billion loan he used to finance measures around food security and credits to small and medium-sized business. He also executed an income tax relief measure for all workers.  Massa is promising that his presidential economic agenda would include measures to increase penalties for tax evasion, an anti-money laundering law, and a reduction in the value-added tax. He also proposed a national digital currency to simplify payments. 

Milei: Dollarization: that’s the marquee policy for Milei who wants to scrap the Argentine peso, replace it with the U.S. dollar, and shut down the Central Bank. He also wants to shrink the state by eliminating 10 of the current 18 ministries.

Social Issues

Massa: As president of the Chamber of Deputies, Massa helped shepherd through the law that legalized abortion. He believes in climate change

Milei: A social conservative, Milei opposes reproductive rights and sex education in schools. Milei does not believe in climate change. He has also spoken disparagingly about the Pope

Foreign Affairs

Massa: In August, Argentina began the process of joining the BRICS— a bloc of countries helmed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa and China—a move that Massa supports. He has a strong relationship with one member of BRICS already: China. He financed a loan just before the election with a currency swap agreement from the Asian country. Massa has also penned deals with the United States, a country he visited several times as economy minister to negotiate with the IMF. On the recent Israel-Hamas War, Massa said he would designate Hamas a terrorist group

Milei: Unlike Massa, Milei would end Argentina’s application to join BRICS. This is consistent with his stated desire to cut political ties with China. Milei is supportive of and friendly with prominent right-wing U.S. figures. Milei condemned Hamas after the group’s October 7 attack on Israel and proposes moving the Argentina embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem


Massa: Massa has proposed providing resources, such as financing and training for a surveillance system, to local governments to control crime. He advocates creating a new federal force to tackle transnational problems, such as money laundering and drug trafficking. 

Milei: Though security was not a focus for Milei in the first round, he now says he agrees with the approach of Bullrich, who advocated for a tough-on-crime agenda that would increase the budgets of Argentina’s security forces and police.  Milei has been outspoken about his support for loosening gun control measures so that armed Argentines can defend themselves from crime. 


Massa: Nineteen of Argentina’s 23 governors have endorsed Massa. He's also recieved the backing of global leaders on the left like Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Milei: Milei nabbed a key endorsement after the runoff from Patricia Bullrich, who finished in third place in the first round, with 23 percent of the vote. Bullrich endorsed Milei four days after the election.  Former President Mauricio Macri also endorsed Milei, despite a history of strife between the leaders. Still, other prominent party leaders in Macri and Bullrich’s Together for Change coalition have refrained from endorsing Milei.