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Ferdinand Marcos Jr leads polls ahead of Philippines presidential election

Filipinos started voting on Monday in a nationwide election that pits the offspring of two main political dynasties in opposition to a progressive candidate promising a break with the nation’s more and more authoritarian governance.

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and his working mate Sara Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, maintain a commanding lead in opinion polls over nearest rival Leni Robredo, the sitting vice-president, who’s working alongside Kiko Pangilinan, a senator.

A ballot by Pulse Asia printed final week confirmed Marcos with 56 per cent of well-liked assist, greater than double the 23 per cent for Robredo. Duterte holds an excellent bigger lead over Pangilinan beneath an electoral system that permits voters to vote for presidents and vice-presidents from completely different events.

More than 67mn of the nation’s inhabitants of just about 110mn are registered to vote.

The elevation to a six-year time period for Marcos, 64, would mark the political rehabilitation of a household that presided as one in all Asia’s most infamous dictatorships. It would additionally raise the fortunes of Duterte, 43, who outpolled all opponents together with Marcos for the presidency earlier than deciding to run alongside him.

Robredo, 57, narrowly defeated Marcos for the vice-presidency within the election that introduced Rodrigo Duterte to energy in 2016 and was a vocal critic throughout the latter’s time period. She has gained enthusiastic grassroots assist on a platform of restoring belief in authorities and lifting the economic system.

“We are not merely replacing the top position; this is an informal referendum on Duterte’s politics and policies,” stated Aries Arugay, a professor of political science on the University of the Philippines Diliman. “It’s clear that one campaign seeks to continue what Duterte started and one really wants to have a paradigm shift in how politics is conducted.”

At a polling station in Quezon City, a part of higher Manila, individuals queued across the block to vote, some sporting the crimson of Marcos’s marketing campaign or the pink of Robredo’s.

“The country deserves better governance,” stated enterprise proprietor Winston Manabat, who was voting for Robredo and believed she may win.

“We don’t believe in any of the polls because at the end of the day, the polls can be fudged,” he added. “The dynamics on the ground give a totally different indication.”

Kenneth Lim, a technician, stated he was supporting Marcos as a result of “he will bring change in our country, in the economy”. He stated: “I think he will do like his dad.”

Analysts stated that Marcos’s recognition had been helped by a cautious marketing campaign to reframe his father’s dictatorship as a golden age of prosperity, although billions of {dollars} had been looted from state funds and the Philippines suspended debt funds throughout his rule.

The Marcos household fled to Hawaii in 1986 after going through the “People Power” mass protests, however returned 5 years later. Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand’s widow, Marcos Jr and his sister Imee Marcos have since rebuilt their political base.

Victims of the Marcos regime have tried unsuccessfully to dam Marcos’s candidacy by petitioning to the nation’s elections fee on the grounds of a previous tax conviction.

A gaggle of greater than 1,400 Catholic clergymen calling themselves Clergy for the Moral Choice has endorsed Robredo, deploring what they known as “fake, deceptive and manipulative claims that aim to revise the history of our country”.

“This is not just about candidates, but this is about values, the truth, the freedom to express, and people are being misguided because of the wrong information,” stated Father Jun Sescon, one of many clergymen backing Robredo. “The priests felt duty bound to be the voice of truth.” 

Analysts stated they anticipated the following authorities, no matter its chief, to proceed pursuing pro-growth insurance policies just like these applied beneath Duterte.

“They have been very quiet about any policy statements because they are so far in the lead,” stated Jon Morales, affiliate director with Vriens & Partners, a authorities affairs consultancy. “But most believe they will leave the wheels of the economy to competent people.”

But Morales added that he anticipated to see “specific sectors being parcelled out almost as gifts”, which “will shut down competition in some sectors through the creation of various subtle barriers”.

Additional reporting by Guill Ramos

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