Torrijos Minister is Frontrunner in Panama




(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Housing minister Balbina Herrera has become the favourite candidate to win Panama’s presidency next year, according to a poll by PSM Sigma Dos Panamá released by Crítica and Telemetro Reporta. 28 per cent of respondents would vote for Herrera in the ballot, up one point since September.

Ricardo Martinelli of the opposition Democratic Change (CD) is second with 19 per cent, followed by Juan Carlos Navarro of the ruling Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) with 11 per cent, Alberto Vallarino of the Panameñista Party (PPA) with 10 per cent, PPA leader Juan Carlos Varela with seven per cent, former president Guillermo Endara also with seven per cent, and former president and PRD member Ernesto Pérez Balladares with four per cent. Support is lower for current vice-president Samuel Lewis of the PRD, PPA legislator Marco Ameglio, and former vice-president Billy Ford.

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.

On Jan. 11, Joaquín Franco, president of the Liberal Party (PL), said that his political organization’s members and supporters would back Herrera’s bid for the presidency as the PRD’s candidate in 2009, adding that she "would be the most bearable candidate with the official ruling party for the general elections."

The next presidential election in Panama is tentatively scheduled for May 2009.

Source: PSM Sigma Dos Panamá / Crítica / Telemetro Reporta
Methodology: Interviews with 1,201 Panamanian adults, conducted in early January 2008. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.