Panamanians Elect Varela as New President

May 9, 2014, 10:43 a.m.

Voters in Panama voted in general elections on May 4, 2014 to elect a new president and 71 members to the National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional). Seven candidates contested the presidential election to replace Ricardo MARTINELLI, who was ineligible to serve another term due to Panamanian law. Juan Carlos VARELA, the Vice-President of Panama was elected President, winning 723,955 votes[1] (39.09 percent). VARELA, candidate for the Panameñista Party / Partido Panameñista (PP), did not receive the support of President MARTINELLI in the campaign, after losing his post as Minister of Foreign Relations in 2011. President MARTINELLI’s wife, Marta LINARES ran as Vice-President on the ticket of José Domingo ARIAS, candidate for MARTINELLI’s Democratic Change / Cambio Democratico (CD). ARIAS finished second in the election with 581,608 votes (31.40 percent). Juan Carlos NAVARRO finished third in the election, winning 521,286 votes (28.14 percent) running for the Democratic Revolutionary Party / Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD). Turnout in the election was 76.78 percent, with 1,884,189 Panamanians voting in the election. VARELA will be sworn in as president on July 1, 2014.

Despite winning the presidency, VARELA’s PP did not fare as well in the National Assembly elections, winning a minimum of 11 seats with 17.92 percent of the vote. No party gained a majority in the National Assembly, with ARIAS’s CD winning the most seats. The CD will have at least 29 seats in the new National Assembly, after winning 43.47 percent of the vote. The PRD will have the second most seats with at least 21, having won 29.58 percent of the vote.  At this point, seven seats still remain undecided with 95.54 percent of the vote counted.

[1] As of writing, vote counting in 99.72 percent complete. Official results will be posted to the election profile when released by the Panamanian Electoral Tribunal.

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