Aquino 'leading in Philippines presidential polls'

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino has a sizeable lead over rival Joseph Estrada in the Philippine presidential election, early results indicate.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Mr Aquino, son of former President Corazon Aquino, had about 40% of the vote with 38% of ballots counted.

Millions of Filipinos have been voting for a president, vice-president and more than 17,000 other official posts.

Voting was marred by the deaths of at least six people in political violence.

Mr Estrada had about 25.76% of the vote, said Comelec chair Jose Melo, and property tycoon Manny Villar was trailing in third with just under 14%.

Mr Melo said about 75% of the more than 50 million registered voters in the country had cast a ballot.

The presidential candidates are vying to replace President Gloria Arroyo, whose second term expires in June.

Under the terms of the constitution she is required to stand down, but she is running for a seat in parliament.

Official results are expected to be announced in the next two days.

Mr Aquino had been the pre-election favourite.

Correspondents say the 50-year-old's political pedigree - as the son of the beloved former president - has been hugely important in his campaign.

But he is also considered an honest, if inexperienced, candidate.

Some voters - including Mr Aquino - queued for several hours at polling stations, after newly-introduced voting machines malfunctioned.

But officials insisted that all votes would be counted and kept polling open to accommodate the delays.

The BBC's Kate McGeown in Manila says the main concern is that problems with the voting could lead to problems on the ground.

Previous elections have been tainted by violence, and despite increased security, at least six people were reported to have been killed in gun and bomb attacks in and around polling stations.


Bron : BBC News

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