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Philippines favourite leads presidential poll

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Philippines favourite leads presidential poll


Presidential elections in the Philippines appear to have followed expected lines with the front runner, Benigno Aquino poised for a decisive victory.

Unofficial tallies of nearly 60 per cent of votes cast showed Aquino had secured over 40 per cent of them.

Even before the election Aquino, who is the son of the former popular leader Cory Aquino, was tipped to win on a controlling the fiscal deficit ticket.

His nearest rival, Joseph Estrada, the former president who was impeached, imprisoned for plunder but later pardoned, had garnered just over 25 per cent of votes.

The candidates are vying to replace President Gloria Arroyo, whose second term expires in June.
Under the constitution she is required to step down but she is running for a seat in parliament.

Some voters were forced to queue for several hours at polling stations after newly introduced voting machines broke down.
But officials said all votes would be counted and kept polling open to accommodate the delays.

Polling day was also marred by violence in the south of the country where nine people were killed in shootings and grenade attacks.

Violence and intimidation often accompany elections in the Philippines, particularly in areas were Muslim and Communist insurgencies have festered for years. Last November, 57 people died in an election-related massacre in the same region.

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