- José Isabel Blandón, Alcalde de la capital panameña - Telemetro
The mayor of the Panamanian capital, José Isabel Blandón, today announced his presidential aspirations and said that he will present himself to the primaries that his party will hold to elect a candidate for the elections of May 5, 2019.
"I love my country, I have devoted my life to the service of my country. 5 years ago, I ran for mayor when it seemed impossible to win; now I have decided to run for president, knowing that it will be a difficult challenge," Blandón wrote on Twitter.
It was an open secret that Blandón had intended to run for the presidential primaries of the ruling Panameñista Party (PP), but he had not yet made any official announcement.
In an interview on the local channel Telemetro, the capital's mayor still explained that he will formalize his candidacy next August, when the application period opens in his party, which will hold the primaries on October 28.
"The law does not oblige me to retire from office because I am an elected official, but because of the transparency that has always characterized me, I have voluntarily said that I will request leave for the position during the primary period," he said.
Among the issues to be addressed during the next term, Blandón mentioned constitutional reforms, education and changes in the management of the Social Security Fund (CSS), which is going through a serious financial crisis.
"I promise that in the first year of the Government, I will call a referendum to let the population decide whether or not they want a Constituent Assembly," he said on local television.
Most of the political parties that exist in Panama will hold primaries between August and October to elect their candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The official calendar of the primaries will be opened on August 12 by the opposition Democratic Change (CD), founded by former President Ricardo Martinelli, imprisoned and prosecuted for illegal wiretapping during his term (2009-2014) and closed by the pro-government Party Popular on November 25.
On May 5, 2019, Panama will hold general elections and renew all offices of popular election, including president and vice president.
Also, 71 deputies from the National Assembly, 20 deputies from the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), 81 mayors, 679 district representatives and 9 councilors will be elected.