Duterte’s Authoritarianism and Populism

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has created considerable controversy since he assumed his position after a stunning election victory in May 2016. From a murderous War on Drugs to threats to break the country’s alliance with the United States, Duterte’s actions have been provocative and his language especially colourful. curato

In a commentary at JCA,  the University of Canberra’s Nicole Curato looks at Duterte’s political location. Flirting with Authoritarian Fantasies? Rodrigo Duterte and the New Terms of Philippine Populism (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1239751) is a timely article as Duterte’s tenure produces brickbats and support for his populism and authoritarianism.

The commentary’s abstract is:

This commentary aims to take stock of the 2016 presidential elections in the Philippines that led to the landslide victory of the controversial Rodrigo Duterte. It argues that part of Duterte’s electoral success is hinged on his effective deployment of the populist style. Although populism is not new to the Philippines, Duterte exhibits features of contemporary populism that are befitting of an age of communicative abundance. This commentary contrasts Duterte’s political style with other presidential contenders, characterises his relationship with the electorate and concludes by mapping populism’s democratic and anti-democratic tendencies, which may define the quality of democratic practice in the Philippines in the next six years.

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