Jose Domingo Arias Wins CD Primary - And He Will Probably Be The Next President of Panama
Sunday, May 12 2013 @ 11:41 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
And I'm going to go out on a limb early here and predict an eventual victory for Arias and the CD in next year's election. There are many reason why I think (now) that Arias will most likely win.
First and foremost - money. When the election occurs the CD and Ricardo Martinelli will have had five years in power, and they have handed out billions of dollars in governmental contracts to build things - more than any other governmental administration in the history of the country. And remember corruption is rampant in Panama, so everyone has been getting rich on the taxpayer's dime. Contractors have been getting paid, and politicians have been getting kickbacks. The people who have been doing well want more of the same sort of activities, so they will push for a continuance, and donate to support the election campaign of Jose Domingo Arias. They will be able to outspend the PRD and the Panameņistas by orders of magnitude.
Secondly, the other candidates are significantly flawed. The rap on the PRD's Juan Carlos Navarro is he was the Mayor of Panama City for ten years - and "What did he do?" Great question. Arias, as a member of Martinelli's cabinet, will be able to practically claim credit for all of the stuff the CD has built in the past five years, and the list of accomplishments is impressive. Navarro will be able to point to - nothing. He has great name recognition, but unfortunately for him, it ends there. The PRD party faithful will back him of course, and he can count on about 35% of the vote, but no more. The other 65%(+) is up for grabs.
So how many votes will the Panameņista's Juan Carlos Varela pull from that stack? Not very many, because his negatives are high now, and they will just be getting higher between now and May 2014. The CD has painted him as the guy who doesn't pay his workers minimum wage. He was basically fired and ejected from the Martinelli administration in August 2011, because he was responsible for the Finmeccanica scandal. The CD has been keeping their powder dry on a whole lot of insider stuff, waiting to use it when it matters. Now you will see them use those insider details to set many of the Panameņista politicians on fire. Jose Blandon wants to be the next Mayor of Panama City. The dirt they have on him (and have been waiting to use) is impressive, and it will scuttle his political career. In a similar manner, the CD really has not pegged the Finmeccanica scandal squarely on Varela's back, but now they will. He will be painted - no, tattooed - as the single person responsible for that whole affair. He might get 10% if he's lucky, even with the support of the PP in an alliance. The Panameņistas are a sinking ship, and no matter what happens, Varela comes in a distant third, and his political career will be over.
So, in order to do the math, just remove whatever percentage you think Varela will get, and divide the remainder in half. That's the magic number required to become the next President of Panama. The PRD can usually get around 35% or so, and if Varela can manage even 15% that still leaves the CD at 50% and a victory. Even if you assign 20% to Varela, that leaves the remaining 80% to be divided between the PRD and the CD. Considering the war chest issue, and that the CD is the first strong incumbent we've seen in the post dictatorship era, it still adds up to a CD victory.
I mean, I'm trying to find a way for the CD to lose, and it's just not there.
Varela is the guy who didn't pay his workers minimum wage. Navarro is the guy who had his chance, and didn't do anything. And by comparison, the CD has done more to advance Panama than any other administration. They have spent more money, built more stuff, and improved the lives of millions of poor Panamanians. I think Panamanian voters are relatively sophisticated. Jose Domingo Arias won't win in 2014 because of this charm, charisma, magnetic personality, wit, intelligence, verbosity, poise, or shoe size. He will win because he's the CD's candidate and he will have the backing and support of their entire machine, aided by their alliance with the growing MOLIRENA party, which has been bolstered by defectors from the PRD and Panameņistas.
So it's official. Tonight, on the night Jose Domingo Arias became the official presidential candidate for the Cambio Democratico political party, I am formally and officially announcing that - according to my political analysis of the situation on the ground at this moment - Arias and the CD will win the 2014 election with about 54% (or so) of the vote. Now we have a whole year to watch these three guys jockeying for position until the final decision is made by the Panamanian people. Election years are always more interesting than a "normal" year, and this one should be a doozie...
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