19 May 2016
The Philippines is perhaps the best regional illustration that democracy does not always run smoothly. A reformist presidential candidate can get elected to re-establish democracy and improve the country’s governance, but it is uniquely Philippine politics today that a maverick leader is set to become the next president. It also raises questions about the return of strong-man rule in the country.
With rival candidates having conceded defeat, the tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte with a “strong-man” image is set to be the presumptive Philippine President. The new leader will be sworn in on 30 June 2016 for a six-year term, but Duterte is already busy forming his Cabinet. He has even met the Chinese ambassador in Manila and talked about how he will conduct relations between the two countries that have been ruptured by their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
Duterte’s victory is remarkable. Despite his foul-mouthed and unconventional ways, he came from behind to beat strong candidates from the elite establishment. Analysts say that “grievance politics” in the Philippines played a large part in the Duterte win. People seemed to want an alternative leadership, as they are tired of the current political status quo. Even the popularity of outgoing President Benigno Aquino could not help his choice candidate, the veteran minister Mar Roxas, win enough support.
… Phidel Vineles is a Senior Analyst in the Office of the Executive Deputy Chairman, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 19/05/2016