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27-28 May 2010

Philippine Congress close to announcing election victor

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Philippine Congress on Thursday started the official count of votes cast in the May 10 election _ the formal step that is expected to declare Benigno Aquino III as the Philippines' president-elect, reported the Associated Press.

The opposition senator and son of the country's democracy icons leads by a landslide in the vote count by the Commission on Elections and the accredited poll watchdog, but only Congress can officially declare presidential and vice presidential winners in the Philippines.

The partial, unofficial count has a tight race for vice president, with Aquino's running mate Mar Roxas II slightly behind Jejomar Binay, mayor of the financial district Makati.

Ballot boxes containing certificates of votes cast by Filipinos abroad were the first to be opened late Thursday by the canvassing body after two days of delays due to questions on alleged poll irregularities and technical glitches. The election was the Philippines' first by electronic method.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles have said they expect to proclaim winners by June 15. Aquino is expected to be sworn in June 30.


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