Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Thursday, April 24 2014 @ 01:48 AM EDT

View Printable Version

Pedro Miguel Gonzalez "On The Ropes" In The 9-3 Circuit

Politics By Eyra Rodríguez for El Siglo - The goal in the 9-3 Electoral Circuit corresponding to the districts of Santa Fe, Cañazas, and San Francisco was to defeat Pedro Miguel González who has been in the National Assembly for the past ten years. For this situation the opposition decided to put forward one single candidate, Francisco “Pancho” Brea, a key man of the Panameñista political party. Late last night, Pedro Miguel Gonzalez was against the ropes. Unofficially, Brea was winning with 10,387 votes or 55.58% of the vote, compared to 8,387 for Gonzalez, or 44.42% of the vote. A coalition formed to achieve the objective. The Molirena, Cambio Democrático, Unión Patriótica and Panameñista political parties all united with the single purpose of defeating Pedro Miguel Gonzalez. The voting in the 9-3 district occurred completely normally, and there were no incidents to report. Pedro Miguel Gonzalez voted in the school at Santa Fe, and Brea voted in the school at Cañazas. (more, don't miss...)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli - Still the King in Panama (El Siglo Reporting)

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Panama's El Siglo newspaper did a good job of capturing the most important headlines from this morning; Ricardo Martinelli is still the king in Panama. According to the unofficial election results being published by the Electoral Tribunal through their website, the political parties representing the "Alliance for Change" have already won 33 seats in the National Assembly (Cambio Democrático, Panameñista, Molirena and Unión Patriótica) while the PRD has won just 23 seats. There are still an additional 15 seats that have to be decided and all results have to become official. Bosco Vallarino will be the next Mayor of Panama City. And, Balbina Herrera is already trying to position herself as the "leader of the opposition." There's another way to put that - "unemployed."

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli Thinking About His Cabinet Picks

Politics By Getzalette Reyes for La Prensa - Panama's President Elect Ricardo Martinelli left his residence at 9:50 this morning and spoke to the media. He mentioned a few names of people who he might select to serve on his cabinet. Martinelli reiterated he will work with the best people, even if they are independents or members of the Partido Revolucionario Democratico. He said TVN television personality Lucy Molinar might be a minister in his new government, but added "I haven't been able to talk to her about it yet." Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and the president elect Ricardo Martinelli agreed to meet tomorrow to talk about the transition. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Fitch: Presidential Election Result Neutral for Panama's Ratings

PoliticsNEW YORK, May 04, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Fitch Ratings says Panama's recent Presidential election result will not immediately affect ratings for the country. According to Panama's Electoral Tribunal, conservative candidate Ricardo Martinelli of the opposition Alliance for Change has won the presidential election. With 63% of the votes counted, Marinelli had 61% of the votes against 37% for the ruling party candidate Balbina Herrera. 'Although Panama's key credit metrics have strengthened in recent years, Martinelli will enter office during a challenging period for Panama,' said Theresa Paiz Fredel, Senior Director in Fitch's Sovereign Ratings group. According to Fitch, the new president will have to guide Panama through the international financial crisis, which Fitch expects to result in the country's worst cyclical downturn since 2001/2002. Additionally, the US$5.3 billion expansion of the Canal to increase its capacity and accommodate larger ships will also be a key priority. Continued growth momentum and resilience of Panama's macroeconomic policy framework in the context of the current global economic and financial crisis could be positive for creditworthiness. Given the small size of Panama's economy, its vulnerability to external shocks and rigidity in public finances, a sustained reduction in the government's debt burden could also benefit creditworthiness. Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, www.fitchratings.com. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site. SOURCE: Fitch Ratings
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli Wins in Panama

PoliticsPANAMA CITY (AP) — A conservative supermarket magnate was favored to win presidential elections Sunday that will determine who oversees expansion of the Panama Canal, the nation's economic engine. Ricardo Martinelli, of the opposition Alliance for Change, had a double-digit lead in the polls over former Housing Minister Balbina Herrera of Panama's governing coalition, which is led by the Democratic Revolutionary Party. The winner, whose term ends in 2014, will have to guide Panama through the world economic crisis and the $5.25 billion expansion of the canal to increase its capacity and accommodate larger ships. (more)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Supermarket magnate wins Panama presidential vote

PoliticsBy KATHIA MARTINEZ – PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama's Electoral Tribunal says conservative supermarket magnate Ricardo Martinelli has won the Central American nation's presidential elections. Tribunal President Erasmo Pinilla says that with 44 percent of the votes counted Martinelli is the "indisputable winner" of Sunday's voting. Martinelli, of the opposition Alliance for Change, topped former Housing Minister Balbina Herrera of Panama's governing coalition, which is led by the Democratic Revolutionary Party. Pinilla said he telephoned Martinelli to inform him of his victory. The winner, whose term ends in 2014, will have to guide Panama through the world economic crisis and the $5.25 billion expansion of the canal to increase its capacity and accommodate larger ships.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Conservative Wins Election in Panama

PoliticsPANAMA (Reuters) — Ricardo Martinelli, a multimillionaire supermarket chain owner, won Panama’s presidential election on Sunday, defying a trend of left-wing political victories in Latin America. Panama’s electoral authority said Mr. Martinelli, a pro-business conservative, was the clear victor over his rival, Balbina Herrera of the governing center-left Revolutionary Democratic Party, whose government has struggled with crime and high prices. Mr. Martinelli’s business experience appeared to have swayed voters worried about their livelihoods in a global recession. A self-made businessman who owns the dominant Super 99 supermarket chain, Mr. Martinelli, 57, wants to build ports, highways and a Panama City subway.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

The Monday Morning Post-Election Hangover in Panama

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I'm about to start running through the local and international news reporting on the Panamanian elections yesterday, and at this point it looks like 100% of what I reported last night was right on the money. Bosco Vallarino will be the next Mayor of Panama City (so, who's going to pay me my $500 bucks?) Ricardo Martinelli's "Alliance for Change" will end up with about 37 seats in the National Assembly, or two seats more than half of the 71 Deputies, meaning they have political control over the lawmaking body. Pedro Miguel Gonzalez did lose his seat, and he turn back into just another random dirtbag walking the streets on 1 July 2009 (I can almost hear the sounds of the rotor blades right now). And already this morning the people who were the closest to Martin Torrijos, and who enjoyed incredible levels of political protection, are starting to get very, very nervous. In the post-dictatorship era Panamanian voters have never re-elected either the PRD or the opposition - they get their chance, screw it up, and then get thrown out on their ass in the next election. The greatest challenge for Ricardo Martinelli and his coalition will be to actually follow through on all of their campaign promises, so that when voters return to the polls on Sunday, 4 May 2014, they might have a chance of pulling another first - actually staying in power for more than one term, a feat no other group of Panamanian politicians have been able to pull off since democracy was returned to the country in 1989. Now, let's see what the world has to say about the elections.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Wins Majority in National Assembly, Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Loses His Seat

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - According to Frank De Lima, one of Ricardo Martinelli's top economic advisors, the "Alliance for Change" has gained a controlling majority in Panama's National Assembly lawmaking body in today's elections. "We don't have all of the details yet, but we understand we've won a majority in the Assembly," de Lima said this evening at the Marriott hotel in Panama City, the headquarters of the Martinelli campaign. When I asked specifically about Pedro Miguel Gonzalez who has been indicted as a terrorist by the United States in the 1992 murder of US Army Sergeant Zak Hernandez, he said "he lost his seat." The really nice part about that is as of 1 July 2009 Pedro Miguel Gonzalez will lose all diplomatic immunity as a sitting Panamanian lawmaker and he will turn back into regular old "Mr. Gonzalez." Frank de Lima said, "that's right - he could be picked up anywhere. And, we would help..." I told him to be careful, because someone might just take him up on that offer in the not too distant future. Panama Guide's next prediction - Pedro Miguel Gonzalez flies to Cuba on 30 June 2009. De Lima also said Bosco Vallarino was "up by 10 points the last I heard."

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Bosco Vallarino Says "Estamos Arriba, Hermano..."

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - At 8:26 pm, I just spoke via cell phone to the opposition candidate for the Mayorship of Panama City, Bosco Vallarino. He's in the Marriott hotel, basically trying to do the same thing I'm doing, to get some solid election results. He told me "so far we are ahead, but I don't have anything solid or official. Right now we're going to go out and go to some schools where the votes are still being counted and it's very close. Later we will probably return here to the Marriott or maybe we will go to the El Panama Hotel, I don't know yet. Call me in about an hour and a half and I'll know a lot more." OK, will do. He sounded very optimistic for an eventual win, but they are still very much in the fight.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama-Guide Predicts Balbina Herrera and PRD Win in 2014

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - There are several undeniable trends that have developed in Panamanian politics. First of all, the PRD and the opposition take turns at the helm, and this has held true since the election of Guillermo Endara in 1989 (opposition.) He was followed in 1994 by Ernesto Perez Balladares (PRD), then the opposition returned in 1999 with Mireya Moscoso, followed by Martin Torrijos in 2004 (PRD). And now, as predicted by the trend, Ricardo Martinelli and the opposition in 2009. So, since 1989, it's gone opposition, PRD, opposition, PRD, opposition. Therefore, according to the trend, there is a very strong indication the PRD should return to power in 2014. Another strong trend is "run once and lose, run the second time and win." Ernesto Perez Balladares beat Moscoso in 1994, but she came back to win in 1999. Moscoso beat Martin Torrijos in 1999, who came back to win in 2004. Martin Torrijos beat Ricardo Martinelli in 2004, who came back to win in 2009. And Ricardo Martinelli beat Balbina Herrera in 2009, so she should (if the trend holds) return to win in 2014. The campaign for the next election already started, with Balbina Herrera's concession speech (here we go again...) I just wanted to be the very first to predict a Balbina Herrera and PRD win in 2014. Remember, you heard it here first.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Balbina Herrera Makes Her Concession Speech

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Balbina Herrera is currently making her concession speech after having lost the general national elections today in Panama. She said "my mother taught me that hard times make us stronger. My force comes from God and the Panamanian people. I am going to respect the decision of the Panamanian people." She thanked the members of the young PRD who went out and knocked on doors to get votes. She said "I understand the Panamanian people perfectly well - there's been tremendous economic growth in the country, but it's not reaching the poor." (Maybe she should blame Martin Torrijos for that?) She went on to say "It's my responsibility - I can't blame anyone else. I am a political leader and the President of my party, and I take full responsibility for this loss." She also thanked Juan Carlos Navarro, the thousands of volunteers who worked for her campaign, and then promised to lead the PRD as the opposition party for the next five years.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli Wins With About 60% Of The Vote

Politics

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.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Those Are Some Really Loud Fireworks...

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Over here near the El Panama hotel someone is firing off some really heavyweight fireworks to celebrate the declared election of Ricardo Martinelli as the next President of the Republic. There were about five or six, real window-shakers (or maybe that was Balbina's head exploding...) Ricardo Martinelli just spoke to his supporters as he left his room at the Marriott hotel, and he is now making his way to the Atlapa Convention Center to meet with the Electoral Tribunal to formally receive their results declaring him as the president-elect. Most of the important Ambassadors to Panama are also waiting for his arrival at the Atlapa Convention Center and right now he's driving over there from the Marriott. After that's done, Martinelli will attend a celebration at the El Panama hotel. And still, I can't get a single word out of anyone with numbers on the results for the Mayor of Panama City race. If someone gets something official please send them to me...

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

DJ Black and "Los Locos Somos Mas"

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Earlier in the campaign the "word" on Ricardo Martinelli was "...but he's crazy..." Then somewhere in the interior of Panama during the carnival season, there were two groups in the same area - one from the PRD and one from Ricardo Martinelli. The PRD supporters started changing "loco, loco..." saying Martinelli was nuts. The Martinelli supporters responded with "Los Locos Somos Mas..." (There's More Of Us Locos...) That incident turned into the slogan for the campaign of Ricardo Martinelli - "Los Locos Somos Mas" and a song by DJ Black that resonated with the young voters in Panama. Now, the celebrations begin...

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

OK, So What? (That Was Expected) Numbers for Mayor of Panama City, Please?

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - OK, the election of Ricardo Martinelli was in the bag since late January 2009 when he and Juan Carlos Varela established their "Grand Opposition Alliance." The math is relatively easy - the PRD simply cannot beat the opposition when the opposition is united, and conversely the opposition cannot beat the PRD if they are fragmented. As soon as the four primary opposition parties united behind Ricardo Martinelli the die was cast, so the announcement of his win is practically anti-climatic. The real contest in this election is between Bobby Velasquez from the PRD and Bosco Vallarino for the opposition (with Miguel Antonio Bernal as an also-ran candidate) for the position of Mayor of Panama City. Weeks ago I predicted Bosco Vallarino would win - thanks to a combination of damage done to Bobby Velasquez by the David Murcia campaign donations scandal, and partly because I thought he might get swept-in on a wave of support for Ricardo Martinelli. So far I still have not seen any election returns for the race for Mayor of Panama City, so that's the next big one...

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli Declared Winner of Panamanian Elections

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - At of 6:30 pm local time in Panama City, opposition candidate Ricardo Martinelli from the "Alliance for Change" is leading with 60% of the vote (353,237 votes) compared to Balbina Herrera with 36% of the vote (219,234 votes). "Also ran" candidate Guillermo Endara is barely registering in the returns with only 2% of the vote (15,769 votes.) It's safe to say at this point the tendencies have been established. For this election exactly 2,211,261 Panamanians were eligible to vote. So far the early returns indicated a participation rate of about 80%, so it would be reasonable to expect about 1.7 million votes will have been cast in this election once it's all said and done. At the time of this report at total of 588,240 votes have already been counted, or about 35% of the expected votes. Right now as I'm typing this, the spokesman from the Electoral Tribunal is calling live from the Atlapa Convention Center to Ricardo Martinelli - and he told him "this is Mag. Pinilla, the President of the Electoral Tribunal - according to the data that we have at this point, with 43% of the results counted, it is clear that you are the winner of this election." He also said "This is a clear result, and there is no doubt that Sr. Martinelli is the winner of this election."

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Ricardo Martinelli Leading in Early Panama Election Returns

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The polls closed here in the Republic of Panama at 4:00 pm local time, and now election workers are counting every vote and posting them one polling place at a time. Right now, as of 5:42 local, Ricardo Martinelli is leading with 60% of votes counted, compared to Balbina Herrera with 37% and Guillermo Endara with 2%. The first returns are from the smaller areas with sometimes only 50 voters, so they were able to count the votes quickly and transmit their results. At this point a total of only 51,299 votes have been counted, of a total of more than 1.7 million expected. So far there has been a participation of about 80% - that is to say more than 80% of eligible voters turned out to participate.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Gangs Exchange Gunfire Near Polling Locations in Colón and Calidonia

PoliticsPanama America - While the government, the Electoral Tribunal, and the presidential candidates are calling for peace and sanity, gang members faced off with exchanges of gunfire in Colón and Calidonia. The Electoral Prosecutor, Boris Barrios, said members from his office met with gangs in Panama, San Miguelito, and Colon and reached an agreement for them to not cause problems today. “It's worrisome because we had an agreement with the gangs for there to be peace and order today, but they did not comply with their word," he said. He said the Electoral Tribunal decided to move the voting center in Calidonia to another "calmer" place. He said there were some isolated shots fired in Calidonia, but he did not specify the location. He said there are several gang members who are members of the different political campaigns and for that reason he asked them to maintain their composure. With regards to the shooting in Colon, he said it still has not been decided if the voting center will be moved to a different location. These acts of violence coincide with a call made just moments before by the opposition candidate Guillermo Endara, for his followers to remain calm and he said that once the elections were over he would give a hug to his political adversaries in the PRD. Earlier in the morning both Ricardo Martinelli and Balbina Herrera also made a call for peace and sanity. President Martin Torrijos said while he cast his vote that this is an electoral celebration that should take place in an atmosphere of tranquillity and confidence.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama Voting - By The Numbers

PoliticsLa Critica - There are exactly 2,211,261 people in Panama who are eligible to vote in the elections today. They will choose the next President of the Republic between Guillermo Endara, Ricardo Martinelli, and Balbina Herrera who will begin to govern the country as the new Chief Executive starting on 1 July 2009. In the entire election there are a total of 1,594 positions that will be filled; among then 71 Deputies to the National Assembly, 75 Mayors of Cities and Towns, 623 representatives to local governments, 7 councilmen, and 20 deputies to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen.) A total of 2,382 voting locations have been established with a total of 5,613 tables. Ricardo Martinelli, a businessman who studied marketing and former president and lawyer Guillermo Endara were candidates in past elections. Engineer, former minister, and former lawmaker Balbina Herrera is the second woman aspiring to the Presidency of Panama.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Voter's Ballot Already Marked in Penonomé

PoliticsBy Rafael Quezada for La Prensa - PENONOMÉ, Coclé. - Damaris Pinzón, a voter who went to the polls to vote at 7:00 a.m. this morning in Penonomé was surprised to find that her ballot to vote for the Deputy to the National Assembly was already marked. The news filtered outside of the perimeter separating the cubicles from the public. Among the ballot papers received by Pinzón, given to her by a member of the primary table, the ballot for Deputy already had a check-mark in the box for the Partido Revolucionario Democrático. This happened at approximately 7:30 am at table number 476 located in the Ángel María Herrera school in the city of Penonomé. Pinzón said she immediately announced the anomaly in a loud voice and displayed the marked ballot before the table and the other representatives (observers) of the various political parties that were inside of the polling place. “It already had a check mark," she said and added that the paper was nullified and that she was given a new one. Agustín Alzamora, a representative from another political party, said this is a serious problem that should be investigated because it could be an electoral crime. He said the details surrounding the event should be annotated, he emphasized. Alfonso Alonso, the inspector from the Electoral Tribunal overseeing the four voting tables in the Ángel María Herrera school, said he could not add anything on the matter because it is incumbent on the members of the primary table to address any anomaly. “The table is independent and makes its own decisions”, he said. He added that the main table did confirm that the incident did happen, but that they should write up a report on what happened in the space allocated for "incidents" for it to be investigated later. About 2,015 voters will cast their votes at the Ángel María Herrera school.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Voting Going Relatively Smoothly in Panama National Elections

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Today more than 1.5 million Panamanians will go to the polls to cast their votes to elect the new President of the Republic, as well as the Mayor of Panama City, National Assembly Deputies (lawmakers), as well as local mayors and representatives for every city and town in the country. There have been some reports of minor technical or procedural problems - for example in two locations reportedly the person charged by the Electoral Tribunal to manage the voting location kept the observers from the various political parties out of the area until after the tables were set up (while in fact they should have been admitted to observe the process.) In one case a woman who was going to cast her vote she noticed that one of the two required signatures was missing. Another reported she was given a ballot that already had a check-mark in Box #1 (the PRD spot for Balbina Herrera.) Right now, there's a controversy over the use of face masks to protect from possible Swine Flu transmission in the voting locations. Health officials are saying it's not necessary because there are no confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Panama, but observers are concerned that someone wearing a mask might try to vote for someone else. Anyway, in spite of these minor hiccups, for the most part Panama's voting system is relatively well designed to prevent flat-out fraud. The voting will continue until the polls close at 4:00 pm, and the initial results are expected starting by about 7:30 pm or so.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

MOFA confident about diplomatic ties with Panama

Politics Central News Agency - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed confidence yesterday that bilateral ties with Panama would not be affected regardless of the result of the Central American ally's presidential poll today. "The Foreign Ministry is closely monitoring Panama's presidential election. We believe that whichever candidate wins the election, bilateral relations between Taiwan and Panama will remain unchanged," MOFA spokesman Henry Chen said. The ministry maintains good relations and close contacts with all presidential candidates, he added. Bilateral relations between Taiwan and Panama were thought to be wavering during the final years of former President Chen Shui-bian's administration, as Chen pursued a diplomatic approach that China saw as confrontational, while Panama tried to develop economic and trade relations with Beijing. The Panamanian government rejected Chen's request for a stopover in October 2007, and its withholding of support for Taiwan's bids to participate in the World Health Organization and the United Nations in recent years were interpreted by many analysts as indications of unstable diplomatic ties. Diplomatic relations between the two countries seemed to improve after President Ma Ying-jeou took office last May and pursued a "diplomatic truce" with China, ending for at least the time being efforts by both countries to steal each other's allies through financial enticements. Ma met with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos last August during a refueling stop in the Central American country en route to South American and the Caribbean, the first head of state from Taiwan to visit Panama since Sept. 1 2004. Panama has been an ally of the Republic of China/Taiwan since 1909 and remains one of the country's 23 allies. According to the Washington Post, latest polls showed that Ricardo Martinelli, a supermarket tycoon and the candidate of the Democratic Change Party (PCD), is enjoying a clear lead over Balbina Herrera of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Supermarket tycoon favored in Panama vote

Politics By Sean Mattson PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - A supermarket tycoon with a multimillion-dollar fortune is the favorite to win Panama's presidential election on Sunday as voters look for assurances their economy can weather the global economic crisis. Pro-business conservative Ricardo Martinelli, 57, has a double-digit lead in opinion polls over ruling party leftist Balbina Herrera, who has an anti-U.S. past and old ties to a former military strongman that rankles with some voters. President Martin Torrijos' Revolutionary Democratic Party, or PRD, has strong support among lower-income voters but its popularity has sagged as prices of staples like milk and bread have soared in recent months and crime has spiked. (more)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

How To Experience Election Day in Panama As A Foreigner

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The "big day" is coming this Sunday in Panama - the national elections will be held on 3 May 2009. This event happens in Panama only once every five years, and for this one I don't recommend sitting at home in front of a television screen - it's much more fun to get out there and grab a big old taste of Panamanian style democracy. The voting his held in public schools all over the country. People basically vote in their own neighborhoods, and many people are close enough to the polling places to just walk there. You can expect to see a robust police and security presence, as well as observers from the Panamanian Electoral Tribunal, international observers, representatives from non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross, as well as observers from all of the various political parties. Basically, everyone is looking over everyone else's shoulder to make sure there's no funny business going on. All of the candidates will have their "headquarters" established - for example Bobby Velasquez will be in the Granada Hotel in El Cangrejo, and Ricardo Martinelli will be in the Marriott. The voting will run all day, and you can expect to see some preliminary results coming in by about 8:00 pm or so. Generally there will be enough of the vote counted by midnight for the main races to have been decided. Feel free to get out, walk around, visit a polling place, and ask questions. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you learn.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Blame Bernal if Bobby Beats Bosco

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Now that the general national election in Panama is only two days away, the only really interesting race remains that for the Mayor of Panama City. Scandals affecting all three mayoral candidates leading up to the election marred all of them. Bobby Velasquez was faced with allegations of having received $3 million dollars from Colombian money launderer David Murcia. Bosco Vallarino was "charged" with having dual US-Panamanian citizenship, but was eventually cleared to run as a candidate. And the Electoral Tribunal reviewed the legitimacy of the candidacy of Miguel Antonio Bernal early on in the process and allowed him to run as a kind of quasi-independent. Just a couple of weeks ago the primary "dinosaurs" of the PRD, including former Panamanian president Ernesto Perez Balladares, met with Miguel Antonio Bernal over lunch right as the David Murcia scandal was breaking over the head of Bobby Velasquez. Those veteran PRD politicians foresaw exactly what was going to happen - the polling numbers were going to tighten up dramatically and Bobby Velasquez would drop in the polls, losing a good portion of the popular support gained as an "untainted" candidate. Without a doubt, the PRD dinosaurs wanted to make sure of one thing - Miguel Antonio Bernal had to stay in the race no matter what. In a three-way battle Velasquez still stands a chance against Bosco Vallarino - but only as long as Bernal stays in the race as a spolier. And although no legitimate political analyst in Panama thinks Bernal has a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning this election, he will probably succeed in drawing somewhere between 10% to 15% of the vote (and no more.) In addition, there are no (as in zero) PRD voters who will cast their vote for Bernal, so therefore 100% of the votes going to Bernal are coming from opposition (non-PRD) voters. Since the fall of Manuel Antonio Noriega the only way the PRD can win any election is if the opposition is fragmented. Martinelli is going to win the Presidency precisely because the opposition united behind his candidacy. Therefore, in effect, the role of Bernal has been reduced to serving as a "spoiler" for the PRD and Bobby Velasquez, and to ruin the chances of opposition candidate Bosco Vallarino. While it's still possible Bosco might win the election anyway - in spite of having Bernal in the race as a spoiler - his work is made much harder. So, if Velasquez wins, blame Bernal. With all of that having been said, this race is still completely up in the air - no one knows for sure who is going to win or by how much. It's going to be very tight.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Closing Ceremony for Balbina Herrera's Presidential Campaign

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Last night the ruling Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) held their last rally for presidential candidate Balbina Herrera. They had a good turnout - one thing the PRD has always been able to do is mobilize the troops. The opposition folks are much more likely to never attend a single rally or political event, but just quietly vote for their candidate on 3 May 2009. All of the PRD heavy hitters were there and made speeches - Martin Torrijos was the best speaker, Juan Carlos Navarro is losing his voice, etc. Unfortunately for the PRD, I watched the entire speech given by Balbina Herrera, and several times during the speech the only thing I could think of was "...and that's why the PRD is going to lose..." She simply is not a winning candidate for a national level election, and she "blew it" several times during the speech. Whatever, at this point practically everyone has their minds made up already, and now all of the propaganda and campaigning will wind down to a full halt and we can finally get around to conducting the only poll that really matters.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

The Plan To Assassinate Ricardo Martinelli

Politics La Critica - The Panamanian National Police warned of a supposed plot by Colombian commandos to kill opposition presidential candidate Ricardo Martinelli at the ceremony to celebrate the closure of the "Alliance for Change" political campaign last Sunday. Electoral Tribunal magistrate Gerardo Solís said the Panamanian National Police received this information on Sunday and that he personally informed Martinelli, a few hours before the event at Amador was scheduled to begin. "There were indications, nothing concrete, but the prudent thing to do was to reactivate security as a preventative measure," he said. The Police reinforced security and even deployed snipers. (more)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Assassination Threats Made Against Opposition Candidate Ricardo Martinelli in Panama

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I spotted it on Sunday, as the "Alliance for Change" opposition presidential candidate Ricardo Martinelli was giving the closing speech of this "campaign closure" ceremony on the Amador Causeway. At the very end of the speech, actually the last words Martinelli was saying as the speech concluded, he finished talking, raised his hands, and "BANG" (the fireworks went off behind him). Martinelli flinched like he thought he had been shot - but then practically instantly he realized that the loud sound behind him was the stage fireworks - he recovered quickly and turned back into the confident politician. Now, today, I received an email from Ricardo Martinelli's campaign managers confirming that indeed there was a credible threat of a possible assassination attempt against Martinelli planned for Sunday's event. And, obviously, that's why he was jumpy. (more)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Operational Command and Control of Public Forces Passes to Electoral Tribunal Today

PoliticsBy José Edwin Sánchez M. for La Critica - Operational command and control over the more than 15,000 uniformed members of the Panamanian National Police, the National Sea and Air Service, the Direction of Judicial Investigation, the Institutional Protection Service (SPI), the National Border Service, and the rest of the public forces will pass today to the hands of the Electoral Tribunal, as a means of maintaining public order in the election centers and voting locations throughout the country on Sunday, 3 May 2009. This ceremony today presided over by the President of the Republic, Martin Torrijos Espino, marks the end of the long political campaign process leading that will culminate with the national elections. The Panamanian Electoral Code establishes that the transfer of command takes place exclusively to guarantee the freedom, honesty and effectiveness of the elections. (See Comments)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks