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Mar­cos dy­nasty back in pow­er: What’s next for the Philip­pines?

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The Marcos dynasty is returning to the pinnacle of power in the Philippines. Almost exactly 50 years after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and established a dictatorship in the country, his namesake son is set to take over the Malacañang Presidential Palace.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr secured more than 30 million votes in the May 9 presidential election, nearly double that of his nearest rival, current Vice President Leni Robredo.

The last time a Filipino leader enjoyed such a commanding electoral mandate was in 1969, when Marcos Sr became the first post-war president to win a re-election in the Philippines.

Naturally, critics fear that Bongbong will replicate his father’s dictatorial ambitions and, similar to outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, ditch Western democratic partners in favour of closer ties with China.

Upon closer examination, however, it becomes clear that Marcos Jr will have to share power with other major political dynasties.

Furthermore, unlike the Dutertes, the Marcoses neither have lifelong resentment towards the West, nor an inexplicable infatuation with authoritarian superpowers such as China and Russia. Thus, the incoming Filipino president will likely pursue far more balanced relations with superpowers.

The impending return of the Marcoses to the Malacañang is a result of the family’s decades-long efforts for a “counterrevolution”, namely overturning the 1986 “People Power” revolt that toppled their dynastic dictatorship. Indeed, Marcoses have been working against reformist forces and slowly inching towards regaining power in the Philippines since their return from exile in 1991.

As early as the 1992 elections, just years after the “People Power” revolt that topped their dictatorship, the Marcoses could have been restored to power had former First Lady Imelda Marcos and former Marcos crony Eduardo Cojuangco Jr joined forces.

The eventual victor, Fidel V Ramos, himself a distant cousin of the Marcoses, won with only 23 percent of the votes, far smaller than the combined votes (28 percent) garnered by the remnants of the former regime. Six years later, Joseph Estrada, a trusted ally, won the presidency in an electoral landslide, largely thanks to the backing of........

© Al Jazeera

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