Philippine President Duterte announces his retirement from politics

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MANILA, Oct. 2 (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday announced he was stepping down from politics, a surprise move that fueled speculation he was paving the way for his daughter to succeed him.

“Today I am announcing my retirement from politics,” said Duterte, accompanying Loyalist Senator Christopher “Bong” Go from their ruling PDP-Laban party as he registered for the vice-presidency.

Duterte was due to run for vice-president. He is not eligible to run again for the highest office because the constitution sets a six-year term limit for the president.

Political observers have long suspected that Duterte could create a surprise, such as a presidential candidacy by his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, next year.

Duterte-Carpio, who replaced her father as mayor in Davao, said last month that she would not run for a higher post next year because she and her father had agreed that only one of them would stand for national elections in 2022.

Elder Duterte’s decision not to race next year would pave the way for her.

“It allows Sara Duterte to introduce herself,” said Antonio La Vina, professor of law and politics at Ateneo de Manila University. But La Vina said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that the leader of the fire might change his mind and be Go’s replacement.

Candidates have until Friday to register, but withdrawals and replacements are allowed until November 15, leaving room for last minute changes of mind, such as entry at Duterte’s 11th hour for 2016 election, which he won by a large margin. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by William Mallard) (([email protected]; +632 841-8938;)) Keywords: ELECTION OF THE PHILIPPINES / (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV)

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