Sunday, May 03 2009 @ 07:31 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The last person to win a Presidential election in Panama with more than 50% of the vote was Guillermo Endara in May 1989. In reality that election was more about trying to get rid of the hated military dictator Manual Antonio Noriega and less about wide-spread support for Endara. And although Endara beat Carlos Duque by a 3-to-1 margin, Noriega "called off the election and declared the results void." It eventually took an invasion by the US military and Operation Just Cause to overthrow Noriega and install the democratically elected Guillermo Endara. Since then there have been four democratic elections (1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009). Of those, Ricardo Martinelli is the first to win with a clear mandate. In 1994 the PRD's Ernesto "Toro" Perez Balladares beat a raft of splintered opposition candidates and won the presidency with only 33.3% of the vote. In 1999 Mireya Moscoso managed only 45% of the votes, narrowly beating Martin Torrijos who got 38% in that election. Torrijos came back to win in 2004 with 47% of the vote, beating three opposition candidates, the closest being Guillermo Endara with 30%. And now Ricardo Martinelli becomes the first democratically elected Panamanian president of the post-dictatorship era to be elected with more than 50% of the vote, and when it's all said and done he will probably have about 60% total, compared to Balbina Herrera who was unable to draw a single vote above the traditional PRD hard-core voters at 36%. And, it should be noted this election came off almost exactly as predicted by the pre-election polling results, and there were absolutely no surprises here.
Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.