The landslide victory of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the country’s longtime dictator, has exposed one of liberal democracy’s greatest vulnerabilities.
Last week, voters in the Philippines went to the polls — and, by an overwhelming margin, chose the son of the country’s deposed dictator as their next president.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., widely referred to by his nickname, Bongbong, ran on a ticket with Vice President-elect Sara Duterte — the daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, a populist most famous for his policy of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers, who pushed the Philippines toward authoritarianism during his six years in office. Neither of these candidates ran away from their parents: on the contrary, they embraced them. And voters in the Philippines rewarded them for it.
Opponents and observers have raised questions about the legitimacy of the election, pointing to a climate of pervasive disinformation, reports of malfunctioning ballot-counting machines, and alleged voter fraud. But on Friday, Leni Robredo, the outgoing vice president and leading rival of Marcos, admitted defeat and urged her supporters “to accept the majority’s decision.”