Backgrounder: General elections in the Philippines

13:38, May 10, 2010      

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More than 500 million registered voters, the largest number in Philippine history, began to cast their ballots Monday in the sexennial general elections.

About 50,000 candidates, including nine presidential candidates and eight vice-presidential candidates, were competing in the elections which involve all levels of governments and parliaments.

A president-elect and a vice president-elect would not necessarily be running mates as the ones who garner the highest number of votes would win out respectively.

Voters will also choose a total of 12 senators, 287 members of the House of Representatives and 17,698 local officials, including 80 provincial governors and 80 vice governors, and 137 mayors and 137 vice mayors.

For the first time, automatic counting systems were applied in the Philippine history. A total of 76,340 precinct count optical scan machines have been installed at all of the 36,679 polling stations throughout the country.

Thanks to the electronic counting, 70 percent of votes could be calculated in several hours upon conclusion of the voting. Moreover, preliminary results of the elections would be available in 48 hours, much faster than the two or three weeks needed in the past, according to the Commission on Elections.

Incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term expires on June 30. Arroyo assumed the post in 2001 after former President Joseph Estrada stepped down due to bribery scandals, and was reelected in 2004.

Under the Philippine Constitution, Arroyo was unable to take part in this presidential race. She has decided to run for member of the House of Representatives of her hometown, Pampanga Province.

Source: Xinhua
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