Midterm congressional and local elections are held today in the Philippines. Opposition candidates are expected to do well–as is often the case with midterm elections in presidential systems.
You have to love the first paragraph of this morning’s LA Times story:
Lured by ladies’ underwear, herring, free insurance and other gifts, millions of voters cast ballots today in a midterm election the opposition hopes will strengthen efforts to impeach President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I don’t know about you, but I’d vote for the candidate offering the herring.
Most of the seats in the lower house of congress are elected by FPTP. The Senate is elected nationwide by multiple nontransferable vote (MNTV, sometimes miseladingly known as bloc vote). The Philippines is notorious for its weak parties and personalized campaigns. The article refers to one candidate, Manny Pacquiao, a former World Boxing Council super featherweight. He is running on the Peoples Champ Movement, which is offering free insurance policies.
The House Speaker, Jose de Valencia is under investigation for vote-buying, which his lawyer defended as follows in a letter to the National Election Commission:
There is nothing illegal, much less an act of vote-buying, in the distribution of the cards [for insurance] because they are given to party members who are already captive voters.
Despite polls showing opposition strength, don’t count out President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats Party, or her allies in Team Unity, just yet.
In addition to most of the legislators being elected on strictly nominal (candidate) votes, a small share of lower house seats is elected by party list, in one of the weirdest list systems ever devised.