Rodrigo Duterte and the anger of electorates

The appearance of the new Philippine Presidente Rodrigo Duterte on the world stage is proving to be awkward to say the least, with President Obama cancelling a meeting with him after Duterte announced his willingness to insult the President if he attempted to raise the issue of extra-judicial killings at the meeting.
Lost in the immediate churn of discussion about Duterte’s propensity for incendiary public statements is the question of how he came to be elected to the Presidency in the first place.
This article explains that, by a process that has many parallels to the rise of Donald Trump, Duterte, from a long-established provincial political family, positioned himself as an outsider who could restore law and order, and gained the support of middle-class electors, who are fed up with coddling the poor, who they consider to be the source of crime, and who are alienated from the rich oligarchs. Duterte’s public statements are those of a demagogue, but his supporters see a man who they think can sort the country out.
History tells us that if you give a demagogue a free hand and a blank cheque, they will swiftly take over all of the apparatus of the state and gain absolute power. The aftermath of Duterte’s election does not bode well for the future of democracy in the Philippines.


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