After the primary elections on Sunday the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) defined the candidate who will contest the Panamanian Presidency in the General Elections of 2019. It is Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo who had 16 other contenders in the internal electoral process of the Torrijista collective.
Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo Cohen is a 65-year-old Panamanian businessman who was deputy of the National Assembly (AN) between 1994 and 2004, and between 2004 and 2006 he was Minister of Agricultural Development during the Government of Martín Torrijos. In 2008 and 2012 he also participated in the PRD primaries but on both occasions he ended up declining to his aspirations.
The precandidate and deputy for the PRD, Zulay Rodríguez, who had spoken most critical of Cortizo, acknowledged her defeat and expressed her intention to work for the unity of the political collective.
Quiero agradecer a los más de 50 mil miembros del @PRDesPanama que creyeron en mi propuesta y visión de país. Respeto y acepto la decisión de las bases de mi partido. Yo seguiré jugando mi rol de oposición y apoyaré a mi partido para lograr el triunfo de 2019. #VamosPRD— Zulay Rodríguez Lu (@ZulayRL) 16 de septiembre de 2018
With a participation of close to 60% of the PRD electoral roll, Nito Cortizo obtained a landslide victory when capitalizing 67% of the votes, Zulay Rodríguez followed with 18%. A total of 566,604 people were summoned for the electoral process of the political group in which the candidates for deputies, mayors and township representatives were also chosen.
Osman Valdés, director nacional de Organización Electoral junto al subdir. Santana Díaz y al dir. de Registro Electoral, Valentín Samaniego, cuando llama a @NitoCortizo para informarle de su triunfo como virtual candidato presidencial del @PRDesPanama para las #Elecciones2019 pic.twitter.com/OT5KRrUNhg— Tribunal Electoral (@tepanama) 16 de septiembre de 2018
The PRD presidential candidate took a shot at Varela’s Government. He said that his days were numbered: "this incapable regime, full of lies and promises that they never thought to fulfill. The Martinelli-Varela disastrous decade ends, years of looting the people and corrupting the institutions end, 10 years of corruption and incapacity were just too much; their days are numbered. "
On his contenders in the primaries of the Torrijista party, he said: "I extend my hand to the fellow party members who participated as applicants for the PRD candidacy as President and I invite you to the effort in making PRD and our country project win. I respect them and I need them. The pending mission: to build a Panama of law and order, prosperous and just, is far superior to any difference between us. "
Throughout much of the day he spoke about the Calzada de Amador issue and the eventual construction of the diplomatic headquarters of China in that place, "thanks to Omar Torrijos we were able to overcome the fifth border, recover the canal and unite our country. The flag of Panama is the only flag that should fly in the Panama Canal."
He said that various sectors of the country would be convened from October to discuss changes to the Panamanian Constitution. Faced with a possible victory in 2019, he said, "We are going to make decisions, some of them difficult but necessary. First we will listen to people, politics should not be deaf. We will always put Panama above any personal or partisan interest."