Roux triumphs over Martinelli in CD election

According to preliminary data, Martinelli has been defeated by Rómulo Roux, his former minister, and current secretary general, as leader of the Cambio Democrático (CD) party.

Data released show that Martinelli won just over half the votes of Rómulo Roux. The former president of Panama (2004-2009), has been in a  Miami Federal Detention Center for seven months. He returns to court on Tuesday, Jan 23rd for a hearing to decide if he should be extradited to Panama to face trial.

In the CD conventions to elect the new board of directors held Sunday, January 21, Rómulo Roux who won the support of 1,486  of the   2,360 delegates and Martinelli, the former leader and creator of the party, received a total of 860 votes.

Alma Cortes, the interim president of the party also lost out on her bid to become secretary-general receiving 372 votes. The deputy and president of the National Assembly, Yanibel Ábrego, was elected with 1,460 votes.  

In response to the triumph Roux told reporters that the win is “a triumph for the renewal, change, and unity of the Democratic Change party, today we are stronger than ever." 

"The leadership of Ricardo Martinelli does not depend on his position on the board of directors, (but) we have to understand that the party needs leadership here in Panama working with its leaders and activists, we need to do a job and we are 14 months away from the general elections "of May 2019, added Roux.

In response to the defeat, Martinelli accused Roux of being a "traitor" and being a "card" of the current president, Juan Carlos Varela, to control the opposition party. Martinelli wrote in a letter to members of the political group and Panama citizens in general via spokesman Luis Eduardo Camacho, “together we will watch that opposition is guaranteed in the CD.” 

“I hope they do not regret voting for Romulo as many regret today having voted for Varela,” says the former president’s message posted on Camacho’s Twitter account.

Martinelli also thanked his “loyal friends” for their support.