tirsdag 19. oktober 2021

‘Some call it a circus’: dictator’s son, boxing icon and former actor vie to lead Philippines

A dictator’s son, an actor-turned-mayor, and a champion boxer: an eclectic mix of personalities declared this month that they would compete to become the Philippine’s next president. More than 60 million Filipinos will go to the polls to decide who should replace the populist leader Rodrigo Duterte, who is nearing the end of his six-year term limit. “Some call it a circus, I actually call it a fiesta,” says Tony La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government. “It’s going to be very interesting, with lots of twists and turns.”

The election in May 2022 comes at a crucial time for the Philippines, which has faced one of the worst Covid outbreaks in south-east Asia and has distributed enough vaccine doses to fully protect just under a quarter of the population. The pandemic, and long, punishing lockdown restrictions, have battered the economy.

For Duterte, too, the stakes are especially high. Last month, the international criminal court (ICC) announced that it was investigating his so-called “war on drugs”, in which as many as 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed. A sympathetic successor could adopt his stance of not cooperating with the court.