Blandón for the Panameñista party

José Isabel Blandón , the mayor on leave of the capital, was elected last night as the presidential candidate of the ruling Panameñista party .

Blandón obtained 56.7% of the votes, in a primary in which he ran against 9 other aspirants. Mario Etchelecu gave him a good fight. The former Minister of Housing obtained 38.1% of the votes.

At 6:08 pm, Osman Valdés , director of Electoral Organization of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) , called Blandón to inform him that he was the presidential candidate of the Panameñista Party.

An hour and a half later, the mayor on leave went up to a platform located in a room at the Sheraton Hotel, a place that served as the party’s headquarters. He was accompanied by his children, his wife Yamileth Araúz , and Etchelecu.

He boasted of a "united and mature" Panamanian Party and announced that ext Tuesday night, he will hold a meeting with Etchelecu, because, he said, "we are now a single team, a single party."

His speech was long and fiery. He did a recount of his political career, of the plans he has in progress for the country, and he sent darts to those who are now his adversaries and with whom the votes will be disputed in Panamanian streets.

He started talking about "a never written story".  It is the first time, the 51-year-old lawyer argued, that a presidential candidate has been a deputy and a mayor.

His candidacy, he said, does not come "from the bowels of the oligarchy", but is championed by "a national of the middle class, born in the interior of the country, in the bosom of a humble family without the name of ancestry."

"Blandón, Blandón, Blandón, unidad, unidad," shouted his supporters celebrating their triumph.

"Have something clear: I do not come to this election with the idea of ​​doing the same as always. I have prepared for years. I have prepared for this moment. I know the monster inside. It has to be replaced by a much better, efficient and transparent system to eliminate corruption, "he promised.

He said that his "first priority" will be to maintain the alliance with the Popular Party (PP) and took the opportunity to greet the vice president of that political group, the Minister of Government, Carlos Rubio, and other members of the PP who were present.

The show of affection for the PP comes at a time when the leadership of that party appointed a commission to activate negotiations with the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), heading for the elections on May 5, 2019.

In addition to Rubio, several of the current officials and even former officials gathered at the Sheraton to await the results of the contest.

Referring to his campaign promises, Blandón said that in his first week as president he will call for a referendum "so that the people can decide whether they want a constituent assembly or not," an idea he explained during the 45-day campaign. internal

He also said he was in favor "of changing the manner of appointing magistrates [of the Supreme Court of Justice], of depriving the Executive of powers and strengthening local governments."

Although throughout the campaign and in his speech he tried to distance himself from the government of President Juan Carlos Varela , he acknowledged that the president had the "courage and detachment to begin the process of decentralization," postponed by his predecessor Ricardo Martinelli.

He announced that he "will look forward to all the debates" and that he hopes and trusts "that there will not be a candidate who will run away."

"They will not see me committing plagiarism or repeating as a parrot what another consultant wrote for a candidate from another country," he said, referring to the presidential candidate of the PRD, Laurentino Nito Cortizo, whom he accused of copying from the president’s speech in Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Yesterday’s day closed the cycle of partisan primaries and defined the offer that political parties will take to the presidential race.

The scenario will be completed in January, when the Electoral Tribunal will announce who the three presidential candidates will be for free nomination. The three that obtain the largest number of signatures will be chosen.