07/28/2005, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Three in four Filipinos want Arroyo to resign

Some 1,200 people were interviewed for the survey. The President held her first press conference yesterday since allegations of voting fraud were made against her. Foreign media complain event was stage-managed.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Almost three in four Filipinos want President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to quit the presidency, this according to a nationwide survey released by Pulse Asia, an independent market research company, citing its own July 2-14 survey of 1,200 Filipinos. The survey has a plus or minus three percentage points margin of error.

The survey indicates that 73 per cent want the President to quit, up from 61 per cent a month before. Only 26 per cent want her to stay in office.

For 34 per cent of the respondents, it would be better for Ms Arroyo to resign or be impeached so that new elections could be held. Another 17 per cent want her to be replaced by Vice President Noli De Castro, whilst 15 per cent believes that a military junta should replace her. For 7 per cent, she should be removed by any means, even if they are unconstitutional.

As to who is unacceptable as the country's leader, Arroyo tops the list with 47 per cent. Only 26 per cent chose deposed President Joseph Estrada who was sent off to prison on corruption charges.

Conversely, among those considered the best leader for the country, Vice President De Castro comes out on top with 26 per cent, followed by opposition senator Panfilo Lacson with 21 per cent, former President Estrada with 11 per cent and President Arroyo herself  with 7 per cent.

Yesterday, Ms Arroyo held her first press conference since June 6 when an audiotape was played in the Senate in which she is heard trying to coax an election official into altering voting results in her favour.  

Reporters at the conference complained that the event was stage-managed and that state-run media were given priority; foreign media protested for being shut out.

For weeks now, the country has been in great turmoil over allegations of electoral fraud and corruption levelled at the President.

She is also facing accusations that her recent proposals for economic and constitutional reform are a smokescreen to save her from impeachment procedures launched by the opposition in the Filipino Congress on July 25.

In her last State of the Nation speech, she presented proposals that would replace the current presidential system of government with a parliamentary one.

For former President Fidel Ramos, Ms Arroyo should be allowed to run for Prime Minister if the new parliamentary system is adopted. But he conceded the reforms were not getting the support they needed.

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