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Panama Elections: tight race

Friday, April 4, 2014

With only a month before presidential elections in Panama, there is no clear front runner.

But whoever wins, Panamanian politics are unlikely to change much.

The candidate of the ruling Democratic Change Party, José Domingo Arias, leads with 33%, followed by Juan Carlos Navarro of the Democratic Revolutionary Party just one point behind, according to a survey released this month by Ipsos TMG.

Support for Juan Carlos Varela during March rose more than that of his main opponents.

But the candidate of the social-democratic Panamanian Party still trails by a substantial margin, at 26%.

Both Arias and Navarro are likely to continue the open-market policies of the current administration of Ricardo Martinelli.

A major center for logistics and banking, Panama has boomed for most of the past decade, with annual growth in output averaging nearly 10%.

At the same time, Martinelli has been tarnished by corruption charges, while Panama’s has the highest income equality in Central America.

Elections will be held on May 4.