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2019 Elections: Parties and independents in the struggle for the Presidency

2019 Elections: Parties and independents in the struggle for the Presidency
  • Telemetro.com

Panama will know who their next president will be in May 2019 and for this a range of options has been deployed. Seven parties and three independents will compete to reach the presidential chair, but before they must finalize political alliances within the period stipulated by the Electoral Tribunal (TE) from last Saturday, December 1 to Monday, December 31.

Popular Party and Panameñista Party: In November the first alliance between parties was ratified with a total of 263 votes in favor. The Panameñista Party and the Popular Party (PP) became the first groups to officially join in the face of the elections. This alliance gives support to the candidate José Isabel Blandón.

"I have prepared for years for this moment. I know the monster very well from the inside. That's why I know that our political system has collapsed that we have to replace it with a new one; a more efficient and transparent one to fight against corruption and patronage. The country is built on public institutions that have legitimacy and credibility," said Blandón when he became the presidential candidate of the ruling party last October.

Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD): Even without official alliances the PRD proclaimed in September the former deputy Laureate "Nito" Cortizo as a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.

"Today I receive the credentials as an official candidate for the PRD to the Presidency of the Republic with emotion and humility," Cortizo said during the proclamation ceremony held at the TE where he also commented on a possible victory in 2019 that, "We are going to take decisions, some of them difficult but necessary. First we will listen to the people, politics should not be deaf. We will always put Panama above any personal or partisan interest."

Alianza Party: This party presented José Domingo Arias as its presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, who already sought the position in 2014 at the hands of Cambio Democrático. So far no possible alliances involving the nascent Panama Alianza party have been announced, but it is known that Arias rules out the possibility of accepting the vice presidency to negotiate a probable union between parties.

Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molinera): Molinera has not presented who they will give their support to for the presidential elections, which apparently will happen a week before the end of the time stipulated by the TE to formalize the alliances.

The deputy and former presidential candidate of the PRD, Zulay Rodríguez, consolidated on December 2 her support for the candidacy of Laurentino Cortizo to the Presidency of the Republic. "It is time to walk together to recover our country and restore hope to the people," said Rodríguez. She added that 52% of the women who make up the Women's Front of the PRD, which she presides over, will undoubtedly support Cortizo.

Cambio Democrático (CD): Even though the possible alliances proposed for this party are not known, Panama does know who its postulate for the elections is. On August 12, CD chose Rómulo Roux as its presidential candidate for the elections on May 5, 2019. The former minister of Ricardo Martinelli won 60 percent of the votes in the primaries called by the party.

Broad Front for Democracy (FAD): The FAD has had its presidential candidate since last October when, with more than 90% of the votes, the union leader, Saul Méndez, became the standard-bearer for the elections of 2019. "We will create the necessary spaces to add the good people who want to change this country," explained Méndez after learning of his victory in the FAD.

Independents: Only three candidates may apply through the independent channel, and those with the highest number of signatures of support shall participate. To be a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, the independent pre-candidate must collect at least 15,500 signatures. The names that until now have been disputing the first places are Ana Matilde Gómez, Dimitri Flores and Ricardo Lombana.

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