Philippines awaits key elections

Troops in Maguindanao province, southern Philippines - 9 May 2010

Polls are due to open in the Philippines after three months of intense campaigning.

Voters will elect a new president as well as more than 17,000 other national and local positions.

Benigno Aquino, the son of the popular former President Cory Aquino, has been leading the polls but former president Joseph Estrada is also in the running.

One of the main concerns is whether the country’s new automated voting machines will be up to such a complex task.

The third presidential candidate considered to have a serious chance is Manny Villar, one of the richest men in the Philippines.

Senators, lawmakers and local officials are being elected at the same time as the president.

All of them have been campaigning hard in recent weeks, but the issue that has also been dominating the headlines is the automated voting machines that will be used for the first time in this election.

Several glitches have already been found and critics are concerned that the results might not be accurate.

Philippine elections are often plagued by violence, and dozens of people have been killed in recent months in the run-up to the polls.

The security forces are out on the streets in large numbers to try to prevent more bloodshed, but there are fears of what might happen if something goes wrong with the machines.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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