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"At the time of this report there will be 35 days left to the May 9 presidential and general elections. If the current opinion polls hold, the elections for president and vice president may produce close results."
PEAM was pleased to hear that there is a good level of confidence in the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) among stakeholders. COMELEC has a particular challenge relating to the issuing of voters’ receipts. Voters want a sense of confidence that their votes will be counted as cast. Another issue relates to the timely and transparent reporting of vote totals. Swift and accurate reporting is essential, especially due to past experiences.
Free, fair, inclusive and credible elections depend also on a permissive environment, and we have heard concerns expressed about vote buying and private armed groups impeding access to polling centres.
In the event of close elections, it will be important for all stakeholders to respond in a measured way, and for COMELEC to be prepared to provide a clear narrative surrounding the conduct of the polls and the publication of results.
In addition to issues related to the present elections, this assessment also suggests a national dialogue concerning possible desynchronization of national and local elections, and the possibility of run-off elections to ensure future presidents and vice presidents have a strong mandate.
There is also work to be done to improve the access to their franchise of indigenous people, people with disabilities, and overseas Filipinos."