Son of former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos poised to win presidency in landslide

Celebrating Marcos supporters

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the Philippines’ former dictator, is poised to win the presidential election by a landslide, according to partial and unofficial results.

The senator has so far won 55.8.% of the vote, compared to 28% for rival Leni Robredo. His win will mark the Marcos family’s return to power after 36 years.

Supporters whitewashed his family’s time in power, which was marked by heavy corruption, as a golden age.

His father, former president Ferdinand Marcos, was known for his brutal authoritarian rule. Mr Marcos Sr, along with wife Imelda and their cronies, plundered an estimated $10bn (£8.1bn) from public funds before he was removed by a popular revolt in 1986.

During this period the Philippines’ economy was heavily in debt and ordinary people struggled.

Bongbong gestures to the crowd
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr

Mr Marcos Jr, 64, is not a newcomer to politics, having served in various elected positions over the years. He lost the 2016 vice-presidential election to Ms Robredo.

In the run-up to this election, his critics say he launched extensive online misinformation campaigns about his family’s history, and avoided debates and other areas where he might face independent questioning.

Despite such concerns, opinion polls during the campaign put Mr Marcos Jr ahead by dozens of percentage points.

That was borne out on polling day. Turnout was high and previous elections in the country have largely been ruled to be fair.

Isolated incidents of violence – including the shooting of three people near a polling station – were not reflected widely across the country, officials said.

Mr Marcos Jr will take over from President Rodrigo Duterte, a hugely popular strongman-style leader who courted controversy on the global stage for his brutal crackdown on drug dealers and users.

The 76-year-old incumbent’s campaign led to police killing thousands without trial, according to human rights groups. His daughter, Sara Duterte, who ran for vice-president alongside Mr Marcos Jr, is leading by a wide margin of votes, partial results show.

The election was not just for the presidential positions, but also for senators, the lower house and regional officials across the entire archipelago. The official count of all votes may take days.

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