The possibilities of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) to regain power in Panama have improved, but everything will depend on the election offer they choose in their primaries this Sunday for the general election of May 5, 2019.
So far, the party created in 1979 by General Omar Torrijos (1929-1981) has suffered two consecutive defeats. This includes the elections of 2009 and 2014, partly due to a mistake in that electoral offer, especially to the presidency, and leaving the Torrijo ideals behind that pointed to the commitment to the bases.
Another factor in the decline of this social-democratic political group, with more than half a million registered in its ranks that make it the main political force in the country, was the option of cronyism. The use of this tactic, made the party become simply an "electoral machine" that did not benefit and was discredited by this.
This was stated by political analysts consulted by EFE, who point out that despite these blunders PRD returns to its best times with this renewal, a new ethical commitment and retaking its principles, so they see good chances of success in 2019 .
Nils Castro, educator and experienced political analyst, said that the possibilities of this party to return to power "have improved in this last period", and in addition it has been "strengthened and consolidated".
Castro said that this has been possible largely thanks to the group led by deputy Pedro Miguel Gonzalez as general secretary of political education, which has gained "more coherence and unity, which favors him."
What has also been good for the PRD is "all this time outside the Government to refine their ideas a little and strengthen their ideological and programmatic aspects a little more."
Castro pointed out that he does not want "all the problems that the PRD has had in recent years to be solved ", but that "the internal situation, the internal coherence of the party, its role before the whole of society, nowadays to be quite better than all other parties."
The lawyer and analyst Ebrahim Asvat said PRD has every chance of winning this 2019 election "if we follow here the tradition of what has happened in the last 28 years, where the ruling party always loses the elections and the opposition wins. "
Within the opposition parties, Asvat stressed, "PRD has the best chance to win the elections following this historic pattern, but the great dilemma is whether it will maintain its unity and if it will really be able to attract independent votes in its favor".
However, Asvat said that "one can not exactly define what could happen in the future," and recalled that the PRD "made a very stupid mistake in 2009 when instead of standing behind Juan Carlos Navarro turned to Balbina Herrera and they managed to lose the elections with that."
As for the primaries to elect the presidential candidate, Asvat agrees with Castro that it will be the younger groups who "are going to decide the fate of who will be the winner", but who believes that the PRD "in general terms is quite identified with (the pre-candidacy of) Laurentino Cortizo. "
In addition to Cortizo, from among the 17 presidential candidates to the PRD, the others with options are former President Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999) and the fierce deputy Zulay Rodriguez.
In addition to the presidential candidates, there are 247 that seek to be candidates for deputies, 370 mayors and 25 councilors, while for township representatives there are 2,144 applicants.
The most recent data of the Electoral Tribunal (TE), of last March, indicate that the PRD has 506,920 adherents - qualified to vote - which places it as the largest political party in the country, followed by the ruling Panameñista Party with 361,664.