May 3, 1999 |
Mireya Moscoso, the widow of a popular leader, won elections Sunday to become the president who will lead Panama when the United States cedes control of the Panama Canal at the end of the year. She beat Martin Torrijos, the son of strongman Gen. Omar Torrijos. The late general helped depose her husband, Arnulfo Arias Madrid, from the presidency and went on to sign the 1977 Panama Canal treaties with the U.S. Martin Torrijos conceded defeat and congratulated Moscoso.
August 31, 1998 |
Voters on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to allow Panama's presidents to seek reelection, in what observers said was a stinging defeat for the incumbent, Ernesto Perez Balladares. With 82% of the ballots counted, 62.5% were against lifting the constitutional prohibition on consecutive terms for presidents. The vote was seen as a rejection of the free-market reforms of Perez Balladares and his ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD.
August 29, 1998 |
At best, the struggle is between continuity in a time of crisis and the democratic tradition of handing over the reins of government to a successor. At worst, it's about lust for power and jealousy. By Sunday, Panamanians must sort the lofty ideals from the personal ambitions to decide in a referendum whether their presidents--particularly their current president, Ernesto Perez Balladares--can run for reelection.
May 10, 1994 |
In the end, Panamanians participating in their most open elections in decades voted for two dead men. Ernesto Perez Balladares, who won Sunday's presidential race, successfully conjured the image of military strongman Gen. Omar Torrijos, killed in a plane crash in 1981 but still a hero to the poor.
May 9, 1994 |
A man who U.S. troops captured and interrogated during the 1989 invasion that ousted Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega claimed victory Sunday in Panama's freest presidential elections in decades. Ernesto Perez Balladares, candidate of the political party that served as a front for Noriega's dictatorship throughout the 1980s, was leading a field of seven contenders with 52% of the vote counted, the national Election Tribunal said.
May 8, 1994 |
Panama's first presidential election since a U.S. military invasion changed the country's history has boiled down to a contest between the onetime political party of ousted Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega and salsa star Ruben Blades. The unlikely options in today's vote speak to ways Panama has changed in the five years since the invasion, and ways it has not. The elections also highlight both the success and failure of a U.S. policy designed to build democracy.