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Naga Metropolis, Philippines – Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have begun voting to decide on a brand new president in an election pitting the son of the Philippines’ late dictator in opposition to a liberal human rights lawyer.
Polls opened throughout the Southeast Asian nation at 6:00am on Monday (22:00GMT on Sunday), with a record-breaking 67 million individuals anticipated to forged their ballots.
Elections Commissioner George Garcia advised reporters that he anticipated an enormous turnout.
“It’s a historic election, a really memorable one, just because we’d be electing, not less than in a pandemic state of affairs, a brand new president and that’s why we’re anticipating a excessive turnout of voters,” he mentioned earlier than the polls opened.
Voting will finish at 7pm (11:00 GMT), with polling hours prolonged due to the coronavirus pandemic and the necessity to keep away from queues and crowds.
Counting of ballots will start straight away and the winner may very well be recognized inside a number of hours because the candidate with probably the most votes wins the election.
There shall be no second spherical.
Analysts have described Monday’s vote as probably the most vital election in latest Philippine historical past as the end result may end in both democratic backsliding or liberal reforms.
The competition has formed right into a two-way race between Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and the present Vice President Leni Robredo. The pair had beforehand confronted off within the vice presidential race in 2016, with Marcos shedding to Robredo on the time.
However Marcos leads the opinion surveys this time. He’s the son and namesake of his father who dominated the Philippines as a dictator till he was pressured from workplace and into exile in a preferred rebellion in 1986.
On the marketing campaign path, Marcos Jr has talked of “unity” however has offered little element on his insurance policies. He has hailed his late father’s “genius” management, and averted media interviews and debates.
Robredo, a lawyer who heads the opposition, has promised a extra clear authorities and to reinvigorate the nation’s democracy.
She threw her hat into the ring at a comparatively late stage, and has relied on a community of pink-clad volunteers to win over voters throughout the archipelago.
“This election is known as a good versus evil marketing campaign,” College of the Philippines Diliman political scientist Aries Arugay advised Al Jazeera. “It’s fairly clear. [Marcos] represents dynasty, autocracy and impunity. Robredo stands for the other of that: integrity, accountability and democracy.”
Marcos’ working mate within the election is the outgoing president’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio. She is main the race for the vice-presidency, an election that’s held individually.
As a examine in contrasts, Marcos voted early Monday in his father’s hometown of Buntac, whereas Robredo skipped the custom of VIP therapy for candidates.
As a substitute, the incumbent vp queued for practically two hours to vote in Magarao, a poor municipality outdoors Naga Metropolis in Souther Luzon, the place her household owns property.
One voter at Robredo’s polling station advised Al Jazeera they had been voting for her as a result of they’re involved about the way forward for human rights and democracy, however for others, financial livelihood is their key precedence.
The realm is continuously within the path of pure disasters like typhoons and earthquakes, and residents are consistently rebuilding buildings and infrastructure.
Earlier on Monday in Naga Metropolis, polls opened with a prayer.
“Vote counting machine, please be good to us,” an election official mentioned as she prayed earlier than beginning the machine that shall be used to document and transmit the ballots.
Then, a bell rang to sign the opening of polls and the voters began coming in.
Exterior the polling station, Maria Fe Cortes, 51, patiently waited in line for her flip.
“I’m voting for change. I hope the subsequent president will assist the poor,” Cortes advised Al Jazeera.
In addition to the presidential and vice-presidential race, Filipinos are selecting members of congress, governors and hundreds of native politicians together with mayors and councillors.
The president, vp and senators are elected for six 12 months phrases, and the remaining for 3 years.
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