Related News

Home » World

Panama votes for stores chief as president

SUPERMARKET magnate Ricardo Martinelli won Panama's presidential election in a landslide, promising to guide the country through the economic crisis and an ambitious expansion of the Panama Canal.

The win by Conservative Martinelli, of the opposition Alliance for Change, marked a rare center-right election triumph in a region that has seen a wave of leftist leaders.

Electoral Tribunal President Erasmo Pinilla called Martinelli the "indisputable winner" after preliminary results showed him with 61 percent support and governing party candidate Balbina Herrera with 37 percent.

Former President Guillermo Endara was a distant third. The winner was announced with 87 percent of the votes counted.

The United States-educated, pro-business Martinelli, 57, who owns Panama's largest supermarket chain, said he would work for a national unity government because "that is what the country is counting on."

"Tomorrow we will all be Panamanians and we will change this country so that it has a good health system, good education, good transportation and good security," he said.

Herrera, a 54-year-old who served as housing minister under outgoing President Martin Torrijos, conceded defeat late on Sunday and promised to respect the results.

She vowed to form "a responsible but very energetic opposition because we have stopped being a country of economic growth, with our house in order and a canal expansion plan in March."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend