On Friday (25 July), 20 million Filipinos will vote to decide the political future of President Ferdinand Marcos.
On Friday (25 July), 20 million Filipinos will vote to decide the political future of President Ferdinand Marcos. The President was elected for a four-year term in 1969; and now the voters are being asked: Do you want president Marcos to continue beyond 1973 and finish the reforms he has initiated under martial law? Last January, the President received a 95 per cent vote, approving martial law and a new constitution giving him immense powers. The vote on Friday is expected to be even more overwhelming.
Friday is a holiday in the Philippines, and all people over the age of 15 are eligible to register and cast their vote.
However, there has been some opposition to the President's plans for the referendum. A group of influential senators, church and community leaders has asked the President to lift martial law before the vote is taken. They've suggested that the referendum date be put back to give voters time to adjust to the change.
In reply, President Marcos has lifted the midnight to 4 am curfew to allow free debate of the issues involved. The President has also guaranteed complete freedom of expression before the referendum, and that includes the right to print and distributed material discussing the poll.