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Voting underway in the Philippines

Voting underway in the Philippines
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Filipinos are voting today in presidential and parliamentary elections. They are hoping a new automated voting system works smoothly and that there is no sign of the fraud and violence that has marred previous ballots.

President Gloria Arroyo cast her vote early. She is not allowed to run for President again but is standing for the lower house of congress – as are a number of family members.

Analysts say she wants to block any investigation into her administration.

The front-runner for the top job is Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, son of democracy icon, Cory Aquino. The main theme of his campaign and his rivals’ has been a fight against corruption and poverty.

But his lead has shrunk in the latest polls in favour of comeback king, ex-president Joseph Estrada .

He was forced from power by a popular uprising in 2001, convicted of plunder and exiled, then pardoned and allowed to return home in 2007.