Philippines Vote

May 12, 1992

The relatively peaceful conduct of the Philippines election was a tribute to the six-year rule of Corazon Aquino. One elected president is about to be succeeded by another.

But the new leader will face the same challenge Mrs. Aquino did, trying to win acceptance for the mandate. In this, the Philippines constitution is not, in the present circumstance, helpful.

Counting won't be complete for days for the 17,280 offices from president down to local council. But since there are seven candidates for president, and the one with the most votes takes office, a powerful presidency may be given to a winner who obtained as little as 20 percent of the votes.

That's heavy baggage, whoever wins. It's too late to rewrite the rules, but the 42 or 43 percent mandate that seems to be necessary to elect a British government really is the minimum for acceptance, and a system of run-offs or transferable vote would produce a more credible result.

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