Laurentino Cortizo claims victory in Panama elections
Posted on 2019-05-08
Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo, a centrist former deputy and minister from the Democratic Revolutionary party, claimed victory in Panama’s presidential elections on Sunday, but it was by a far narrower margin than had been expected.
The Electoral Tribunal declared the former businessman winner of the first-past-the-post vote by a wafer-thin margin of around 40,000 votes.
He beat Rómulo Roux, a former foreign minister from jailed ex-president Ricardo Martinelli’s Democratic Change Party (PRD), who had been lying a distant second in opinion polls, by only 33 per cent to 31 per cent, with 95 per cent of ballots counted.
Mr Cortizo, 66, swiftly vowed to work for national unity while predicting a majority for his PRD in the 71-member single chamber National Assembly.
“Together we are going to join forces to transform Panama,” he said. “I will not let you down . . . I have no doubt that better days are on the way.”