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Well today is the day we find out who with take control of Panama for the next 5 years.  The current administration is the party Cambio Democratico, led by Ricardo Martinelli.  His replacement running for the president is Jose Domingo Arias. 

 

Mr. Arias has two very strong contenders, with Juan Carlos Navarro heading up the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), and Juan Carlos Varela heading up the Panamenista Party (PP).  All have run strong campaigns.

 

Many say that a decision made be the Cambio Democratico may have hurt their chances to win the next govenment.  I don't pay a lot of attention to politics, and maybe I should, but that decision had something to do with appointing Ricardo Martielli's wife as the Vice President if Mr. Arias wins.  Many believe this would give Mr. Martinelli another 5 years in office, and they may reject the party based on the principle alone.

 

One hitch with Panamanian politics is that if the current governing party looses office, so does every government employee.  The new governing party rehires party loyalists to hold all govenment positions, so it can make it difficult for the government employees to vote based on their concience, rather than their livelihoods.  

 

It's very interesting to watch, and I am sure whoever takes the next presidency will do a fantastic job!!

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