05/11/2010, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Elections: Aquino set to become the next president of the Philippines

Election Commission has already counted 78 per cent of ballots. The leading candidate is the son of the late president Cory Aquino. He is ahead with 43 per cent of the vote, followed by former President Estrada with 25 per cent. Turnout tops 85 per cent, this despite controversy over malfunctioning electronic voting machines.
Manila (AsiaNews) – Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is close to victory with about 43 per cent of the vote in this year’s Filipino presidential election. The Election Commission (COMELEC) has so far counted 78 per cent of all the ballots cast after polls closed at 7 pm yesterday.

Aquino, the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, is the son of the late Cory Aquino, who was president during one of the country’s fateful moment of history. Former President Joseph Estrada follows Aquino’s lead with about 25 per cent of the vote.

Two other candidates, Manny Villar and Richard Gordon, have already conceded defeat.

Official results should be announced in a few days.

For now, the only certainty is the high turnout, 85 per cent of about 50 million eligible voters, this despite the controversy surrounding electronic voting and violence.

As of today, 33 people died in violent episodes during the election campaign. Back in November, another 57 had died in political violence in Maguindanao.

Card Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila, said this morning that the elections represent “a milestone in the country’s history”.

According to the prelate, the success of the election is due to the work of more than 45,000 Catholic volunteers from Parish Pastoral Councils.

COMELEC had tasked them with checking voting procedures and vote recount in polling stations in order to reduce the danger of electoral fraud, which has been a major problem in past elections in the Philippines.

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