May 18, 2024

Westside People

Complete News World

Panama Elections: Voters in Panama vote to elect a new president

Panama Elections: Voters in Panama vote to elect a new president

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Voters in Panama began voting Sunday In the elections She was consumed by the unfolding drama surrounding the country’s former president, even though he was not on the ballot.

As the hot sun shone on this usually sleepy Central American country, voters lined up outside polling stations. Eager for change after months of political turmoil and protests, Panamanians are weighing promises of economic prosperity and immigration crackdowns in the face of a corruption scandal.

More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024

“The election in Panama will be one of the most complex in its modern history. The vote was marked by increasing political division and social discontent under the outgoing President Laurentino CortizoArantza Alonso, senior analyst for the Americas at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said before the polls opened.

The presidential race remained in limbo until Friday morning, when Panama’s Supreme Court ruled on the leading presidential candidate Jose Raul Molino He let it run. She said he was qualified despite allegations that his candidacy was not legitimate because he was not elected in the primary.

Molyneux joined the race late to replace the former president Ricardo Martinelli As a candidate for the Achieving Goals Party. The fiery Martinelli was banned from running in March after he was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for money laundering.

Martinelli, a businessman who was Panama’s president from 2009 to 2014, dominated most of the election race. He campaigned for the position of his former deputy from within the walls of the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​where He took refuge in February After obtaining political asylum. On Sunday morning, Molino entered the Nicaraguan embassy accompanied by photographers, hugged Martinelli tightly and called him “brother.”

See also  Chongqing Covid outbreak: Chinese city 'extended to the limit' as millions wait in line for tests in sweltering temperatures

Despite lacking Martinelli’s courage, Molyneux retracted his relationship with the former president. He is rarely seen without his blue Martinelli Molino 2024 hat and has promised to help Martinelli if elected, a pledge welcomed by the former president’s supporters.

Juan Jose Tinoco, the 63-year-old bus driver, was among those queuing outside the polling station in a coastal area of ​​Panama City. Tinoco, who lives in a working-class area of ​​small concrete houses surrounded by expensive skyscrapers, said he planned to vote for Molino because he was the closest thing he could get to Martinelli, adding that he made a fair amount of money during his rule. The period of the former president in power.

“We have problems with health services, education, garbage in the streets… and corruption that never goes away,” Tinoco said. “We have money here. This is a country with a lot of wealth, but we need a leader who will devote himself to Panama’s needs.”

Molyneux promised to start and stop the buzz economics we saw under Martinelli Migration across the Darien GapIt is a dangerous jungle area that overlaps Colombia and Panama and through which half a million migrants crossed last year.

Top in the minds of many voters were the massive anti-mining protests that roiled the country for weeks last year and led to drought that effectively impeded the transit of trade through the Panama Canal.

While Molino’s message resonated with many voters fed up with Panama’s political establishment, many like Emanuel Romero, a 68-year-old Uber driver, agreed that the country needed change but with someone new at the helm.

See also  A jailed former Malaysian prime minister is losing a final attempt to have his graft conviction reviewed

Romero’s car was painted with signs of Ricardo Lombana, a candidate who denounced corruption and sought to win the votes of Panamanian youth eager for change.

“If we want to see more of the same — corruption and the collapse of our country — let’s vote for the same people. “I will vote for an independent person who I am confident will do things in a better way that will save the country,” Romero said.

Molyneux leads opinion polls with about 35% of the vote, while his rivals lag behind. Former President Martin Torrijos came in second with 15%, while former presidential candidates Romulo Roo and Lombana received 14% and 12%, respectively, according to a March poll by the Panamanian Institute of Civic Studies.