Duterte in front as Philippines goes to the polls
Polls have tough-talking mayor in lead
Millions of Filipinos lined up yesterday to elect a new president. Weary of poverty, crime, corruption and insurgencies, voters are looking for a radical change at the top.
And many hope the man to lead it is Rodrigo Duterte, the 71-year-old mayor of the southern city of Davao who has held a lead over rivals in all opinion polls.
An ex-prosecutor, Duterte peppered his campaign speeches with boasts about his Viagra-fuelled sexual prowess and jokes about rape. But he also successfully tapped into discontent, and voters appear willing to overlook his crude language.
“All of you who are into drugs... I will really kill you,” Duterte told a huge cheering crowd on Saturday in his final campaign rally in Manila. “I have no patience, I have no middle ground, either you kill me or I will kill you idiots.”
Statements such as these have won him the nickname ‘Duterte Harry’, a reference to the Clint Eastwood movie character Dirty Harry.
Yesterday, he arrived at a polling centre in a school in Davao where a throng of journalists and supporters awaited.
“I am a candidate for the presidency and almost all of them are my constituents. It is very natural for them to gravitate toward me,” he told reporters before entering the polling room. Voting at most of the 92,509 precincts nationwide started at 6am and ended at 5pm. Voting was extended by an hour in precincts that had opened three or more hours late because of technical or other problems. Election results are not expected for at least 24 hours after the election, perhaps longer. Besides Duterte, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and three other candidates are vying to lead one of Asia’s liveliest democracies. More than 45,000 candidates are contesting 18,000 national, congressional and local positions.
I have no patience, no middle ground, either you kill me or I kill you - Rodrigo Duterte’s message to drug gangs
POPULAR: Rodrigo Duterte looking confident after casting his vote