Philippine poll campaign kicks off

Campaigning for this year's presidential election has officially begun in the Philippines.

The incumbent President Gloria Arroyo and five other candidates are contesting the 10 May election.

Opinion polls say the main opposition candidate, Fernando Poe, can win votes because he is a popular film actor.

The main candidates have all pledged to campaign cleanly, but the Philippine custom of intimidation is likely to become apparent as the poll draws near.

During the last presidential election dozens of people were killed in political violence.

Colourful

The official start of campaigning means that between now and polling day Filipinos are in for three months of noisy and colourful election rallies where the singing and dancing often obscure the more serious purpose.

President Arroyo, a highly-educated economist, contends that she has the experience and the reforming policies to break the country's cycle of poverty and violence.

Ms Arroyo's main opponent is Mr Poe, the popular film actor.

Mr Poe is a secondary school dropout with no political experience and, at least until the start of campaigning, no publicly announced policies at all.

10/02/2004

Bron : BBC News

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