Academic journal article Contemporary Southeast Asia

Roundtable: The 2016 Philippine Presidential Election

Academic journal article Contemporary Southeast Asia

Roundtable: The 2016 Philippine Presidential Election

Article excerpt

Political tsunami may be cliche, but it is difficult to find a more suitable metaphor to describe the stunning election victory of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines presidential election on 9 May 2016. An unconventional politician from the country's southernmost island of Mindanao, whose crude comments and antics throughout the campaign courted considerable controversy, was the consummate outsider. Yet, on a platform largely devoted to improving law and order by employing draconian measures, weeding out corrupt officials and improving the lives of impoverished Filipinos who make up the bulk of the country's 100 million people, Duterte secured 39 per cent of the vote and demolished the other, rather lacklustre candidates who all hailed from elite political families. Not since the toppling of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 had Philippine politics looked so transformative--and so infused with uncertainty and potential dangers.

The editors of Contemporary Southeast Asia asked a group of leading political scientists and economists to examine how the election was fought, and what the result means for Philippine politics, the economy and the country's foreign relations over the next six years. Ramon Casiple kicks off the Roundtable by describing how the "Duterte phenomenon" represents a push back against the elite's capture of politics since the fall of Marcos. Duncan McCargo provides an eyewitness account of the colourful (in more ways than one) election campaign and explains the key ingredients of Duterte's victory. …

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