Businessman Martinelli leads all in Panama

A conservative businessman of the Democratic Change (CD) party could become the next president of Panama.

Monday, December 8, 2008

According to a poll by Unimer published in La Prensa, 36.2 per cent of respondents would vote for Ricardo Martinelli in next year’s election, up 3.8 points since October.

Balbina Herrera of the governing Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) is second with 30.8 per cent, followed by Juan Carlos Varela of the Panameñista Party (PPA) with 15.1 per cent, and former president Guillermo Endara of the Moral Vanguard of the Homeland (VMP) with 3.5 per cent.

PRD member Martín Torrijos—the son of Omar Torrijos, an army general who ruled Panama from 1968 to 1981—won the May 2004 presidential election with 47.44 per cent of the vote. Torrijos’ tenure has been marked by his support for an ambitious plan to expand the Panama Canal with an investment of $5.25 billion U.S. In October 2006, the proposal was ratified in a nationwide referendum.

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