Philippines’ Midterm Elections Take Place, Stocks Rally
May 21 – The Philippines’ 2013 midterm general elections were held last week, with 12 senate seats to be filled and 229 district seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives. Full results can be found here.
Nine of the twelve senate seats and 114 district seats were won by members of incumbent President Noynoy Aquino’s Liberal Coalition (known as Team PNoy), which should greatly strengthen his influence over the Senate. Team PNoy is comprised of the Liberal Party (LP), the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party and the National Unity Party.
President Aquino, who is midway through his six-year presidential term, has been viewed favorably in the Philippines and currently boasts an approval rating of 72 percent. The elections signaled that Team PNoy has successfully maintained its majority-party status, and the result makes Aquino the first president to have majorities in both houses of congress since 1986.
LP members hope that their success in the 2013 elections will enable them to bolster their party’s agenda, which focuses on economic growth and anti-corruption measures.
“A majority in the senate will mean an excellent opportunity to install new leadership in the senate from the administration coalition,” said Florencio Abad, a LP member and Secretary of the Philippine Department of Budget and Management.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secured the remaining three Senate seats in an attempt to increase their political power in the country. Nancy Binay, the daughter of UNA president Jejomar Binay, even won a senate seat despite having no prior political experience – a sign to some that the UNA is gaining popularity as an oppositional force.
According to COMELEC’s 16th Canvass Report, nearly 40 million ballots were cast during the senate race, which accounts for 75 percent of registered voters in the Philippines. Voter turnout was higher this time around compared to the three previous congressional elections.
Following the elections, the Philippines Stock Exchange Index rallied to an all-time high of 7,403.
The election outcome has encouraged bullish sentiment among many Filipino market specialists, with chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange Jose Pardo remarking: “7,500 here we come. New highs can be expected after a credible and honest election.”