Fighting for her political survival, the president of the Philippines has called for radical changes in the system of government.
Gloria Arroyo, who faces an impeachment motion over claims of electoral fraud, said in her annual state of the nation address it was time to start a “great debate” on wide-ranging reforms. She called for a switch from a US-style presidential system to a parliamentary one, and said reforms were needed to raise revenues and cut debt. But protesters massing in the capital Manila say it is too late for Arroyo to redeem herself, and that the only decent thing for her to do now is to resign. The focus of their anger is a telephone call the president made to an independent election official during the counting of votes in last year’s poll. She admits making the call but denies trying to rig the vote.