Today, Sunday, May 4th, was election day in Panama. I mean for everybody. President on down.
At 7:30 p.m., with 60% of the votes in, the head of the Electoral Commission said that there was an irreversible trend for the Panameñista candidate, Juan Carlos Varela, with just a hair under 40% of the votes over Cambio Democrático candidate José Domingo Arias who stood at not quite 33%. Juan Carlos Navarro, the Partido Revolucionario Democrático candidate garnered 27% and three other candidates barely showed up in the mix and certainly not enough to make a difference. Boy, they sure like using three names, just like good old backwoods boys in the States, don’t they?
From http://richarddetrich.com/ :
“Juan Carlos Varela, representing the Panamenista Party, is also a businessman with a degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and his family owns Varela Hermanos, Panamas major and gigantic rum company. The Panamenistas made an alliance with Martinelli’s CD party in order to defeat the PRD candidate and get Martinelli elected. The price of the alliance was for Varela to be Martinelli’s Vice President until the two had a falling out. Although running against the current government candidate, Domingo, Varela is still Vice President.”
As a foreigner I am strictly forbidden to participate in any way in the Panamanian electoral process. I will make no judgement or statement about the outcome of this election because, quite frankly it’s none of my business and I also really don’t know enough about the candidates to make an informed decision. I will, though, make this one observation and then shut up. I think the fact that Arias’s vice presidential running mate is the current president, Ricardo Martinelli’s wife might have hurt Arias overall since it gives the appearance that Martinelli might still keep his finger in the pot.
It will be five years before the Republic goes through this craziness again, unlike in the States where it seems there is non-stop campaigning and speculation, often years ahead of the fact.