søndag 10. oktober 2021

A dictator's son. A former actor. A champion boxer. Inside the manic race to replace Duterte as the Philippines' leader

A dictator's son. A former actor. A champion boxer. A diverse field of candidates have put up their hands to succeed Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who is stepping down after a single six-year term in line with the Philippines constitution. Although the 2022 presidential election campaign is yet to begin, the machinations and drama are well underway.

Friday was the final day for candidates to announce their intention to run. Among those who officially filed are Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of a former Philippines dictator; Manny Pacquiao, a senator and former boxing champion; Vice President and Duterte critic Leni Robredo; and Isko Moreno, the mayor of Manila and a former actor.

Richard Heydarian, professor of history and political science at the Philippines' Polytechnic University, says there is no clear frontrunner. "It is going to be highly, highly competitive," he added. The Philippines has only one round of voting, unlike many countries such as France, where there is a second ballot between the two most popular candidates. This means that whoever is in front at the end of counting will become president -- no matter how small their total share of votes. In a tight race, the prize could go to anyone. And the stakes are high.