Filipino clans, celebrities dominate midterm polls

(AP) Filipino clans, celebrities dominate midterm polls
MANILA, Philippines
Filipinos are voting for familiar names in congressional and local elections dominated by political dynasties and celebrities, making the polls a contest over popularity first and political reform second.

Despite scattered killings and fears of fraud, Philippine officials say they expect Monday's elections to be relatively peaceful after authorities took drastic steps to prevent chaos in one of Asia's most rambunctious democracies.

Polling started at 7 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m., with first results expected in 48 hours.

More than 52 million Filipinos have registered to elect 18,000 officials, including half of the 24-member Senate, nearly 300 members of the House of Representatives and leaders of a Muslim autonomous region in the south, where Islamic insurgents, al-Qaida-linked gunmen and private armies have long been a concern.

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