Panamanians Elect New President in Competitive Atmosphere

Panamanians Elect New President in Competitive Atmosphere

Panamanians Elect New President in Competitive Atmosphere

Panamanians are casting their votes in a general election to elect the nation’s next president and elect hundreds of lawmakers and officials, Excel Magazine International reports.

Eight contenders are competing for the presidency, with the protege of a former head of state convicted of corruption taking the lead.

After weeks of campaign activities, over three million voters will determine which of the eight candidates is best equipped to address Panama’s urgent economic challenges, combat corruption, and restore the country’s status as an attractive investment destination.

Excel Magazine International observes that no single party is expected to secure control of the legislature, where 885 seats are being contested.

Polling stations are open for eight hours from 7 a.m. (12:00 GMT) for eligible voters.

Jose Raul Mulino, a former minister who continued his candidacy after his running mate, former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-14), was disqualified due to a conviction for money laundering, is leading in opinion polls.

Martinelli has played a significant role in the campaign, advocating for his former running mate from the Nicaraguan embassy, where he sought asylum on February 8.

Mulino has capitalized on his association with the ex-president, frequently seen sporting his blue “Martinelli Mulino 2024” cap and pledging support to Martinelli if elected.

He has also pledged a return to the prosperous economy experienced under Martinelli’s administration.

Romulo Roux, in his second attempt to win the presidency, and former President Martin Torrijos have been alternating between second and third place.

Close behind is Ricardo Lombana, a candidate from the previous election, and current Vice President Jose Gabriel Carrizo.

Panama’s electoral regulations do not mandate a runoff, making Sunday’s outcome decisive.

Campaign teams have committed to deploying volunteers to oversee voting and ensure a fair electoral process.

The winner will serve as both head of state and prime minister of Panama and would assume office on July 1.

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