Polls showed Juan Carlos Varela trailing in third place going into Sunday’s presidential vote, but the outgoing vice president shocked the country, and he will become Panama’s next president after leapfrogging both the candidate of the outgoing, term-limited president and the candidate of the Panamanian center-left.
With 82.12% of the votes counted, Varela (pictured above), the candidate of the conservative Partido Panameñista (Panameñista Party), one of the country’s oldest parties, led with 39.00% of the vote.
Trailing in second place was José Domingo Arias, the candidate of term-limited, outgoing president Ricardo Martinelli and the center-right Cambio Democrático (CD, Democratic Change), with 31.87%. In a surpassingly weak third place was environmentalist and former decade-long mayor of Panama City Juan Carlos Navarro, the candidate of the center-left Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD, Democratic Revolutionary Party), who was winning just 27.79% of the vote.
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Until the votes were actually counted, the race seemed like it was set become a photo finish between Arias and Navarro.
So what happened? Continue reading Meet Juan Carlos Varela, Panama’s new president