Argentina’s first-ever presidential debate in history took place yesterday at UBA’s School of Law and saw five, not six (how many times can we say this) candidates battle it out. A solemn but cordial atmosphere reigned over the event, but a few highlights, listed below, had us laugh, wince in discomfort or hold our breaths.
Here are the top five best moments of the night.
1. Massa Gives Scioli Time to Respond
Victory Front (FpV) candidate Daniel Scioli’s absence was one of the most recurring topics of the night. So much so that candidates used the 30 seconds they had to talk about their stance on any subject to take swipes at him for not having attended the debate. And Sergio Massa landed the best punch. When his turn came around, the A New Alternative candidate asked that everyone respect a moment of silence to highlight Scioli’s absence. Despite the utter silence, a quiet yet clear whisper could be heard in the room: “Buuuuuuuuurn.”
2. Hey Scioli, Want to Go to the Debate? Nah, Battle of the Bands Is on Tonight
“The debates can get heated and take on an aggressive tone. It’s not what people want.” With those words, Scioli justified on Sunday his reluctance to attend the historic event. However, it was clear his decision would have negative repercussions. So what did he do to minimize the political damage? Stay put at home and watched Netflix until it was all over? Guess again. Instead, he decided to hang with rockers in a battle of the bands called “Rockea BA 2015” and even took pictures with some contestants. For some reason, Lomas de Zamora Mayor Martín Insaurralde and his wife, model Jesica Cirio, were there too, but let’s not go into detail.
3. Somebody Get Macri a GPS
Mauricio Macri starred in the night’s only blooper. The Cambiemos coalition candidate took his place at the wrong lectern and someone had to tell him to go to the right one. Of course, it took less than three seconds for social media to make fun of him and compare this episode with former President Fernando De la Rúa’s historic blooper. In 2001, the former President appeared on the country’s most famous TV show, Videomatch, in an attempt to improve his image since most people considered him
extremely a bit “vanilla.” He failed. Not only did he get the names of both the show and host Marcelo Tinelli’s wife wrong, but he also got confused at the end of his interview and couldn’t find his way off set. To be fair, a good interview wouldn’t have done much for him, since he had to flee the Casa Rosada in a helicopter while the country was going down in flames a year later.
4. Rodríguez Saá’s Field Trip
The Compromiso Federal candidate seemed more unprepared than his opponents. So much so that according to an analysis conducted by La Nación, he only said 1,559 words during the debate, 400 less than Massa, who got fourth place and almost a 1,000 less than Margarita Stolbizer, who ranted the most. Not only that, but his questions were so vague that he could’ve asked them to any candidate and gotten similar answers: “Do you think it’s possible for all political forces to agree on a reform aimed at strengthening the country’s democratic procedures?” he asked Margarita Stolbizer. Uhm, yes.
5. Macri Beat the Odds
“This debate has beaten tonight’s football game in ratings. There was a need for debate,” stated moderator Luis Novaresio at one point. “Or maybe River’s doing poorly,” risked Mauricio Macri. Beating all odds that say 95 percent of politician’s jokes are either awkward or unfunny, the room celebrated the comeback. It was a close call.