On Elections

How people elect parliaments

Philippines elects president who might shut down parliament

Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial Mayor of the southern Philippine city of Davao, has easily won election as the next President of the Philippines.

The leading candidate in recent months, Duterte, 71, marketed himself as an anti-establishment candidate who would address law and order and economic inequality issues in the country.

Duterte, Mayor of Davao for the past 22 years, attracted international attention for  a brutal approach to dealing with crime in his metropolitan role.

image - Rodrigo Duterte

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is accused of failing to hold officials accountable for extrajudicial killings by a vigilante group in this home city (image: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

He also drew notice through a series of vulgar statements during his election campaign, including remarks about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in 1989.

The Philippines elects its president every 6 years by a simple plurality voting system: the candidate with the most votes wins.

According to unofficial, but completed, national counts, Duterte won just short of 37% of the vote over rivals Mar Roxas (22%), Grace Poe (21%) and Jejomar Binay (12%).

While a record 40.6 million people voted in Monday’s election, Duterte’s election as President comes with the lowest winning percentage of the vote since 1992, when six candidates topped 10% and Fidel Ramos won with just 24%.

Current President Benigno Aquino won 42% of the vote in 2010 – the best result for any Philippine president in the modern era. Aquino did not run again because presidents are limited to a single six-year term.

Under the nation’s presidential voting method, the election does not go to preferences or to a second round.

Most president-electing nations use the two-round runoff method – in effect a form of preferential voting. Had the Philippines used such a system, Duterte and Roxas would have faced one another in a second ballot.

Fairfax South-East Asia correspondent Lindsay Murdoch reports that the election of Duterte may directly affect the operation of Philippine democracy.

“The likelihood of return to an authoritarian era has already prompted talk of a coup by some of Mr Duterte’s hardline rivals in the country where many people are hypersensitive to potential threats to democracy since the 1986 people’s uprising that forced the Marcos family into exile”, Murdoch writes in The Age today.

“Mr Duterte, who has been linked to vigilante death squads, warned during campaigning that he would shut down parliament and establish a revolutionary government if lawmakers did not endorse his policies, or moved for his impeachment.”

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2016 by in Current issues, Election results, Philippines, Presidential elections.
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