Panamanian general election, 2009

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Panamanian general election, 2009
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  Ricardo Martinelli.PNG Balbinaherrera.jpg Guillermo Endara 1993.jpg
Nominee Ricardo Martinelli Balbina Herrera Guillermo Endara
Party Democratic Change Democratic Revolutionary Moral Vanguard of the Fatherland
Popular vote 936.644 584.931 36.613
Percentage 60.11% 37.54% 2.35%

President before election

Martín Torrijos
Democratic Revolutionary

Elected President

Ricardo Martinelli
Democratic Change

Coat of arms of Panama.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Panama on May 3, 2009.[1]

Presidential race[edit]

Balbina Herrera was the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) candidate for President of Panama. She had previously served as President of the National Assembly of Panama during the Mireya Moscoso presidency[2] and Housing Minister under outgoing president Martin Torrijos.[3] Herrera won her party's primary on September 7, 2008, defeating Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro with a ten-point lead.[3] The Liberal Party and the People's Party were in alliance with the PRD in support of Herrera.[citation needed] Herrera was also endorsed by Ruben Blades, a popular salsa musician who had previously run for president and served as Torrijos' Minister of Tourism,[4] and was initially considered the favorite for the presidency.[5] If elected, she would have become Panama's second female president.[3]

Ricardo Martinelli was the candidate of the opposition Democratic Change, also supported by the Patriotic Union Party, the Panameñista Party and the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement. Martinelli was a successful businessman, and was the chairman of the board of Panama's Super 99 supermarket chain.[6] During the presidency of Ernesto Pérez Balladares, Martinelli had served as Director of Social Security from 1994 to 1996.[5] From September 1999 to January 2003, he had served in the Moscoso Administration as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal and as the Minister for Canal Affairs.[5]

Guillermo Endara, former Panamanian president from 1989 to 1994, ran as the candidate for the Fatherland's Moral Vanguard Party.[7]

Though initially the favorite,[5] Herrera was damaged in the election by her links to former military ruler Manuel Noriega[4] and by the perception that she was a "Chavista", a supporter of leftist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.[7] Martinelli was also helped by strong support from the business community and his campaign promise of "real change" resonated among poor voters.[5]

On May 3, 2009, Martinelli won the national elections by a landslide, with over 60% of the votes compared to Herrera, who received about 36%. Former president Guillermo Endara finished a distant third.[7] Martinelli was declared the winner after 43.68% of the votes had been counted.[citation needed] This was the second-largest majority in Panamanian history, and the largest since 1989.[8] Martinelli's victory was an exception to a trend of victories for left-leaning Latin American candidates.[4] He was sworn in on July 1, 2009.[9]

Presidential election results[edit]


Candidate Party/Alliance Votes %
Ricardo Martinelli Alliance for Change (APC) 952,333 60.03%
Democratic Change (PCD) 509,986 32.15%
Panameñista Party (PAN) 293,554 18.50%
Patriotic Union (UP) 53,952 3.40%
National Liberal Republican Movement (MOLIRENA) 94,841 5.98%
Balbina Herrera One Country for All (UPPT) 597,227 37.65%
Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) 553,974 34.92%
People's Party (PP) 35,459 2.24%
Liberal Party (PL) 7,794 0.49%
Guillermo Endara Fatherland's Moral Vanguard Party (VMP) 36,867 2.32%
Total valid votes 1,586,427 100%
Spoilt and invalid votes 50,081 3.06%
Total votes/Turnout 1,636,508 74.01%
Registered voters 2,211,261

Legislative election results[edit]


Parties and alliances Votes/districts % Seats
Alliance for Change (APC) 842,667 56.01% 42
Democratic Change Party (PCD) 352,319 23.42% 14
Panameñista Party (PAN) 334,282 22.22% 22
Patriotic Union (UP) 85,609 5.69% 4
National Liberal Republican Movement (MOLIRENA) 70,457 4.68% 2
One Country for All (UPPT) 611,135 40.63% 27
Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) 537,426 35.73% 26
People's Party (PP) 55,598 3.70% 1
Liberal Party (PL) 18,111 1.20% 0
Fatherland's Moral Vanguard Party (VMP) 14,760 0.98% 0
Independents 35,793 2.38% 2
Total valid votes 1,504,355 100% 71
Spoilt and invalid votes 99,582 6.21%
Total votes/Turnout 1,603,937 72.53%
Registered voters 2,211,261


  1. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Panama
  2. ^ Michelle Ray Ortiz (May 1, 1999). "Panama Could Have 1st Woman Leader". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Kathia Martinez (September 8, 2008). "Panama's ruling party picks woman for president". USA Today. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Super 09; Panama's presidential election". The Economist.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). May 9, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Anthony G. Craine. "Ricardo Martinelli". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ricardo Martinelli, el magnate de supermercados que ofrece un cambio al país" (in Spanish). EFE. April 28, 2009. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2010.  (English Translation)
  7. ^ a b c Sara Miller Llana (May 3, 2009). "Conservative supermarket tycoon wins Panama vote". Christian Science Monitor.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lina Vega Abad (May 4, 2009). "Cifras, techos y realidades". La Prensa (in Spanish). Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Supermarket tycoon sworn in as Panama president". CNN. July 2, 2009. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Tribunal Electoral

External links[edit]