Panama seeks to avoid voting for corruption

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The upcoming May 5 elections in Panama are conditional on recent corruption scandals

Panama seeks to avoid voting for corruption

In the next general elections of Panama, which will be held on May 5, the majority of the political cabinet will be renewed, and those who arrive will be in office from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 202, and these will be the sixth elections since Panama made a constitutional transition in 1994, as we mentioned in another article.

Leer en español: Panamá busca evitar votar por la corrupción

However, the elections are tarnished due to the recent corruption scandals that affect the ex-president and current mayoral candidate of the City of Panama Ricardo Martinelli; and current President Juan Carlos Varela, who is charged with receiving illicit money and listening to telephone conversations of different politicians, journalists, and other diplomatic officials.

Therefore, Panamanians will seek in the next elections to get rid of a candidate with links of corruption, and who bet on the change in the country. What happened to the next 2.7 million Panamanians to vote in favor of a candidate who, if possible, is far from corruption?

You may be interested in reading: Elections in Panama: these are the presidential candidates

Ricardo Martinelli, president from 2009 to 2014

In 2015, the former president of Panama fled to the United States, after a local judge ordered the prosecution of Martinelli because, according to the accusations, he heard conversations of more than 150 people, which included journalists, members of the opposition party, lawyers, among others.

Even though he is currently in jail, according to the polls of intention to vote published by the newspaper La Prensa and carried out by the Spanish firm GAD3 Internacional, the former president leads the survey with 25.3%. While initially challenged his candidacy, on April 9 "the Fifth Electoral Judge, Elvia Rengifo, and the Electoral Attorney General, Eduardo Peñaloza," endorsed that Martinelli meets the requirements to be an official candidate in the elections of May, according to Panama America.

Although several political sectors try to block his candidacy as mayor, the fact is that his popularity in the polls and his political tour in which promises better health service, community pharmacies, and greater female participation, are shaping him as the favorite to win the town hall. The truth is that Panamanians will decide if they prefer to have the former president as their new mayor.



Juan Carlos Varela, president from 2014 to 2019

The businessman who became a politician and won the 2014 elections under the slogan of "the people first" was a disappointment for Panamanians, according to The Global Americas. The lack of seats and support in Congress (less than 23%), was a trigger for the laws were not authorized. Added to the above, and according to the same means, the constant economic comparison with its predecessor and who recorded two-digit numbers were triggers for the disapproval of the Panamanian people.

Also, when the scandal that spread throughout Latin America, Odebrecht, came to light, and it was revealed that Varela had used around USD 700,000 to finance his campaign; that outside the fact the Brazilian company had distributed around USD 100,000 in the governments not only of Varela but in the previous two (Torrijos and Martinelli), the approval of the president fell dramatically to 20%. In the past, their approval ratings were above 80%.



Meanwhile, the leading candidates leading the polls are Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo with 51% intention of votes; followed by Rómulo Roux with 23.1% and finally José Blandón with 9.1%. The three candidates have in their proposals a solution to fight corruption based on the management of good governance, an economic transformation in which more jobs are generated, among others. It will be the Panamanians who decide next May 5 if they will bet, again, on corruption, or try to distance themselves from that particular line of the three previous governments.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "Panamá busca evitar votar por la corrupción"

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