Contributed by: Don WinnerThe former president Mireya Moscoso has officially come out in support of José Domingo Arias, and did so with the blessing of the Nazarene of Atalaya.
Moscoso had previously announced she would reveal during the religious festival which candidate she would support during the upcoming election.
As a result, she was surrounded by the media early on, but she decided to delay her announcement until after the mass had concluded.
When the time finally came, she read three pages before taking questions.
"It has taken months to reach this decision, which I assume after hearing voices from all over the country. It is my conviction that only José Domingo Arias ensures we continue the path of progress we all want," were her first lines.
And she herself anticipating the obvious question - Why not support your party? - She continued her statement: "You have to understand the vision of Dr. Arnulfo Arias, which is the vision we share with true Panameņistas. Panama is first."
Later she said the former president (Arias) always told her the country's interests should come before personal or partisan interests.
"In keeping with these values, I met with José Domingo Arias to express the concerns I heard from Panamanians. He not only listened, but he shares those same aspirations," as she explained her support for the CD campaign.
Moscoso went a little further, encouraging Panameņistas to "accept that our contribution to Panama is to step back in order to support the best choice for our country."
Although José Domingo Arias was not present when Moscoso made her statements, he celebrated this decision in statements made to Panama America.
Arias confirmed recent meetings with the former president in which they agreed - he said - with the vision of governing as close as possible to the people and to know their needs.
"With this formality, President Moscoso became part of our team, and we'll be traveling around the country," he said.
Another who expressed her satisfaction at Moscoso's decision was the former First Lady Ana Mae Diaz. "I, like her, I think José Domingo is the best option for the country," she said .
For the lawyer Ernesto Cedeņo, the support from Mireya Moscoso is important for any politician because it has weight from a technical point of view.
Meanwhile, the Panameņista National Assembly Deputy Luis Eduardo Quirķs said the former president Moscoso, as all Panamanians, has the complete freedom to choose to vote for whoever she wants in the upcoming elections, and her decision should be respected as a personal choice.
"The call to Panameņista party members is irrelevant, because the members of the Panameņista political party are very clear on who is their candidate, and what their opitions are," he said.
We tried to get a reaction from the Panameņista Party presidential candidate Juan Carlos Varela, but he merely stated: "I have no comment on that." (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: Moscoso's announcement further torpedo's Juan Carlos Varela's chances, but in fact it's just one more stone around his neck. He already had zero chance of finishing any better than third place. Ana Mae's announcement that she is also supporting the CD and Arias will bring in a few old die-hard Endara supporters as well. Arias and the CD already have a solid alliance with the MOLIRENA party which came about shortly after their alliance with the Panameņistas fell apart.
Panamanian voters are savvy - and in Panama there are tangible benefits to supporting the "right" (winning) candidate during any election. Meaning, political activists who bring in blocks of votes are rewarded with jobs (where they get paid but they don't have to work), positions of authority, gifts, cash, favors, access, power, etc. Everyone knows who is who, who is on what team, who had what flag flying in their yard, etc. And most importantly, they all know who is going to win.
I'm a good political analyst but it doesn't take a genius to figure this one out. All of the PRD guys already know Navarro is not going to win - so they are trying to find ways to support the CD and Arias. Some of them have to answer to their father's or grandfathers who are die-hard, PRD tattoo wearing, Omar Torrijos loving dinosaurs. I bet there are conversations going on like "listen man, if my father knew I was telling you this he would disown me, but you know I really am supporting the CD and Arias, and so are all of my friends." In some cases there will be one color of political flag flying from the front of the house, but on election day the vote will go to the CD (clandestinely). Of course Varela will lose (get third place) and the Panameņistas will continue to lose power and clout as a political party, as will the PRD.
Listen, folks. In Panama political parties are very often formed around the nucleus of one strong political leader. Omar Torrijos created the PRD in order to lend some degree of legitimacy to his military dictatorship. Torrijos is dead. His son Martin already had a turn. So that party is now dying a natural death, as it moves further and further away from the glue that created it, and held it together. The same thing is true for the Panameņistas and Arnulfo Arias (who is also dead). His wife Mireya Moscos had her turn, and now that party is also dying a natural death. The CD is strong and growing thanks to the gravity of Ricardo Martinelli, and it's sucking up the bits and pieces of political chaff being discharged by the PRD and the Panameņistas. So my prediction is that the political star of the CD will continue to burn brightly, while the PRD and Panameņistas will slowly die and eventually wink out. This is the primary reason why I think the CD will remain in power for a good long time, and it will be awhile before a new charismatic political leader from whatever orientation arises to form his own party and launch a successful challenge. That challenge will not be coming from any of the old warhorses, such as Jovane for example. It will come from someone who is currently in the first grade, and who just learned how to tie their own shoes...