(b. San Juan, Rizal Province, 5 April 1947)
Filipino; Vice-President 1998–2001, President 2001– Daughter of Diosdado Macapagal, President of the Philippines 1961–5, she was educated in the Philippines and at Georgetown University in the USA. Trained as an economist, she first became involved in government in 1986 when Corazon Aquino appointed her as an Assistant Secretary for Trade and Industry. She was elected as a senator in 1992 and as Vice-President in 1998, defeating the candidate of Joseph Estrada, who won the presidential election. In 2001 Estrada was ousted by street protests and a loss of support from the army, and Macapagal Arroyo became president. As a technocrat it was hoped that her government would restore stability to the country. While the economic position certainly improved, her administration was surrounded by allegations of corruption. She survived an attempted coup in 2003 and went on to win presidential elections in 2004 (the following year a scandal emerged over whether she had attempted to rig the elections; she survived a move to impeach her). In 2007 Estrada was found guilty of corruption and jailed for life, and then received a presidential pardon. Opposition to her rule continued, with both Estrada and Aquino calling on her to resign. During her time as President there had been a number of attempts to bring peace to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, where there was a Muslim insurgency. In August 2008 the government and the Muslim Islamic Liberation Front reached an agreement, but there was much local opposition and the deal collapsed, with a resurgence of violence. The global economic crisis caused the price of rice to double in 2008, causing further strain to the economy. Macapagal Arroyo is required to step down as president in 2010.