Tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte owed his stunning victory in the Philippine presidential election to five key factors, according to analysts interviewed by AFP on Tuesday:
– Strongman –
Many Filipinos were clamouring for a strong ruler to start fixing a wide range of deep-rooted problems. With cuss-filled vows to kill criminals and challenge the elite’s grip on the economy, Duterte shrewdly portrayed himself as their saviour.
– Populism –
In another counter to the elite that have long ruled the economy, Duterte offered himself as a man of the people who was equally enraged by the problems and injustices faced by the masses.
A charismatic politician, his boasts of womanising and constant swearing infuriated critics but added to his anti-establishment credentials. A natural storyteller, he captivated his audience with tales about their troubles while his jokes made them laugh.
– Law and order –
Successfully reading the mood of the electorate, Duterte made restoring law and order the central plank of his campaign platform. Duterte promised to end crime within the first six months of his presidency.
His vows to kill tens of thousands of criminals were embraced by voters who felt extreme measures were needed to tame rampant crime and corruption.
– The anti-Aquino –
President Benigno Aquino had overseen six years of high economic growth. But many voters felt they had not experienced the benefits and blamed Aquino’s style of leadership that his critics perceived as weak and cumbersome. Duterte promised to be the opposite.
– Divided rivals –
In the Philippines, a presidential election is decided simply by whomever gets the most votes. Duterte was expected to finish with about 39 percent of the total. His two main rivals, administration pick Mar Roxas and independent candidate Grace Poe, were to secure a combined 45 percent. President Benigno Aquino tried to get Roxas and Poe to combine forces before the election as a president and vice-president tandem. Poe refused. If they had not split the vote, one of them may have won.
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