Nito Cortizo wins a close race
While the official statement will only be made Thursday, Sunday May 5th 2019 Laurentino Cortizo was declared the winner, two percentage points ahead of Rómulo Roux in Panama’s presidential election.
Panama’s 2019 election ended up being a very close race, between Cortizo and Roux, and while Cortizo ended up in the lead, Roux has yet to concede, claiming voting irregularities. However, the electoral tribunal says 95% of ballots have been counted, and Cortizo has the vote by a slim margin. The official change of government will take place Thursday May 9th 2019, when the Electoral Court expects the national vote-counting board to confirm Cortizo as the winner after a final recount of the vote.
The tribunal said the result is one that is "irreversible" despite a close margin of fewer than 40,000 votes.
Who is Laurentino Cortizo?
Nito Cortizo is 66 years old and is the candidate for Panama’s Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), a party founded by military ruler Omar Torrijos in 1979. After receiving an education in the U.S. Cortizo returned to Panama, serving as minister of agriculture, holding office in the regional organization of American States, and working in both the construction and livestock sectors.
What does Cortizo stand for?
He campaigned with anti-corruption at forefront of his platform, promising to reform laws that govern how public contracts are awarded. He also spoke out against rising unemployment in Panama, promising to improve Panama’s education system. Finally, Nito spoke to the capital promising to improve he state of water utilities and rubbish collection in the capital, Panama City.
Mr Cortizo has also expressed a desire to strengthen the country’s ties with the U.S. stating "the United States is our strategic partner, our main strategic partner," to Reuters. "This relationship has to improve", he continued.
Who else was in the Panama’s presidential race?Along with Cortizo and Roux, in the top three was independent candidate, Ricardo Lombana. Lombana, a 45 year-old lawyer, made his way on to the ballot by collecting thousands of signatures. He gained prominence with a "citizen’s movement" taking on corruption in the country. Lombana had nearly 20 per cent of the vote a big margin for an independent candidate.
Panama spoke up yesterday.
With 72 percent of Panamanians voting in the sixth presidential election since a U.S. invasion ousted strongman Manuel Noriega in 1989, voter turnout was high.
Voters polled their concerns were centered around corruption, economic slow down, rising unemployment, education, unreliable water service and insufficient garbage collection in the capital.