Opposition party candidate Varela wins Panama presidency
Conservative Juan Carlos Varela, the vice president who broke politically with President Ricardo Martinelli, was officially declared Panama’s next president Sunday.
Varela, who was trailed by fellow conservative and Martinelli loyalist Jose Domingo Arias, was informed of his win by the electoral court once more than 60 percent of ballots were tallied.
The 50-year-old rum manufacturer had a falling-out with Martinelli after the president dismissed Varela from his foreign minister post in 2011. The move opened a political wound that has yet to heal.
The president had been an outspoken supporter of Arias, 50, the country’s former housing minister and a businessman who made his fortune manufacturing ladies’ undergarments.
In addition to picking a new president, the country’s 2.5 million eligible voters were electing dozens of mayors and members of Congress.