Shoe queen Imelda Marcos kicks off election campaign | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 26.03.2010
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Shoe queen Imelda Marcos kicks off election campaign

The former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos kicked off her congressional bid in Norte, the home province of her late husband, Ferdinand Marcos, on Friday. Their two children are also running in the upcoming polls.

Imelda Marcos waves to the crowds in Norte on March 26

Imelda Marcos waves to the crowds in Norte on March 26

The Philippines is gearing up for a huge election extravaganza on May 10 when some 50 million voters will choose a new president, a vice-president, almost 300 lawmakers in the two-chamber Congress and some 17,600 local government seats.

Imelda Marcos, whose children Ferdinand Junior and Imee are running for senator and governor positions respectively, said at the start of her campaign on Friday that the three of them were united "to ensure the nation will be great again."

The 80-year-old, who was notorious for unbridled extravagance and for her thousands of shoes during her husband's dictatorship said she was "so excited".

Imelda Marcos points looks at some of her 200 shoes on display at the Shoe Museum in Marikina City

Imelda Marcos points looks at some of her 200 shoes on display at the Shoe Museum in Marikina City

Addressing the needs of the poor

Insisting that her age would not prevent her from serving the people, Marcos promised to make the government more responsive to the need of the country's millions of poor.

She added she would ensure that health, education and other basic services became accessible in remote parts of the country.

According to poll indications, all three Marcos candidates are likely to win their respective political bids. This might help to remove the stigma attached to the family's 20-year rule, which was marred by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines with an iron fist from 1965 to 1986.

A family comeback

Observers attribute the family's comeback to the fact that many today in the Philippines believe the situation is worse today.

Arroyo's nine-year rule has been overshadowed by similar accusations of corruption and human rights abuse.

Frontrunner Noynoy is the son of late President Corazon Aquino

Frontrunner "Noynoy" is the son of late President Corazon Aquino

Moreover, experts says that much of the population of 90 million seems more worried about its survival as widespread poverty affects over a third than about abuses that took place in the past.

Polls often marred by violence

Election campaigns in the Philippines are often marred by violence, allegations of election fraud and corruption. This year, dozens have already died in election-related violence. There is a great deal of speculation that there could be an assassination or a coup.

In the opinion polls, Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro, the administration's presidential candidate, is currently running fourth behind contesters Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, Manuel "Manny" Villar and deposed former president Joseph Estrada.

Current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not allowed to run again after two terms. She is also contesting for a seat in the House of Representatives with Imelda Marcos and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

act / dpa / AFP / Reuters
Editor: Disha Uppal

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