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Philippines Presidential Election: Live Updates

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is running for president 36 years after Filipinos overthrew his father, Ferdinand E. Marcos, in a popular uprising.CreditCredit…Lauren Decicca/Getty Images

MANILA — Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the ousted dictator’s son and namesake, edged closer to a triumph in the Philippines’ presidential election on Monday as early election data shared by the government put him ahead of Leni Robredo, his closest rival.

With about 84% of the election results counted in a preliminary tally as of early Tuesday Manila time, Marcos has secured more than 27 million votes, according to ABS-CBN, a local broadcaster with access to official data. He won more than twice as many votes as his closest rival, Leni Robredo, the vice-president. It put him on the path to the biggest margin of victory in a presidential race in the Philippines since the 1980s, when Corazon Aquino was elected following the ousting of Mr Marcos’ father during the uprising. people power” of millions of Filipinos. .

But by the time the polls closed at 7 p.m., reports of alarming irregularities had been reported across the country: malfunctioning voting machines, an insufficient number of back-up machines, complaints that voters had not been registered on the registration lists and that their ballot papers had been falsified. .

Mr. Marcos’ lead was so strong that it seemed extremely unlikely that Ms. Robredo could prevail. However, in a speech to his supporters on Monday evening, as official voting days approached, he appealed for patience.

“It’s not over yet,” he said. “Let us watch our votes. And if I’m lucky, I hope for your endless help and trust.

A victory for Mr. Marcos would likely lead to a further regression of democracy in the Philippines, where democratic institutions have been wiped out or weakened under Mr. Duterte. Impunity could prevail – Mr. Marcos, known by his childhood nickname “Bongbong”, indicated that he would protect Mr. Duterte from an investigation by the International Criminal Court for a violent war on drugs which claimed thousands of victims.

“Personally, I’m devastated,” said Sol Iglesias, assistant professor of political science at the University of the Philippines Diliman. “It is a dash of hopes that there will be a reversal of the rollback to authoritarian rule that was initiated by President Duterte.”

Spontaneous celebrations erupted outside Mr. Marcos’ campaign headquarters on EDSA Boulevard, where millions of Filipinos had gathered to peacefully protest his father more than three decades ago. Supporters sang a martial law anthem, waved the Philippine flag and chanted “Bongbong, Sara!”

The official count begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday local time, and a winner is expected to be announced in the coming days. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Marcos will claim victory before this process is complete.

Human rights activists, intellectuals and hundreds of thousands of young people had opposed Mr. Marcos’s candidacy for the presidency, fearing that democracy would regress even further under his rule. For many victims of former Mr. Marcos’ brutal rule, his son’s victory amounts to an erasure of their own experiences, as his family has spent years distorting their shared memory of the atrocities committed during the war. martial law.

Prior to the election, all opinion polls had shown Mr Marcos would win the presidency and do so by the widest margin in three decades – an extraordinary comeback for a family forced out of the country in 1986.

Mr Marcos came on a platform of unity, saying he would “help Filipinos up again”. But many of his policy proposals remain thin, and he has accepted few media interviews. He appealed to a public that has become disillusioned with the country’s brand of democracy and its failure to meet the basic needs of its citizens. Poverty is widespread, inequalities have widened and corruption remains endemic.

Mr. Marcos served as Vice Governor, Governor and Congressman in Ilocos Norte, the family stronghold, for most of the period between the late 1980s and 2010. That year he entered the political scene national when he was elected senator.