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Duterte allies crush opposition in Philippine midterm elections

Stronger Senate support gives president freer hand to amend constitution

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at a rally in Manila on May 11. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

MANILA -- Senate candidates backed by President Rodrigo Duterte are on track to take over most of the 12 seats contested in the Philippines' midterm elections, resulting in a crushing defeat for the country's opposition.

The scale of Duterte's victory in Monday's polls is the biggest for a president since the restoration of democracy in 1987. His popularity has thrust political newcomers onto the national stage, and is a massive blow for opponents seeking to push back against what they say is an increasingly autocratic government.

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