Panama: Mulino Wins Presidential Vote

    Panama: Mulino Wins Presidential Vote
    Image copyright: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores via Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Former Panamanian security minister, José Raúl Mulino, was declared the new president Sunday night after securing 34% of the vote and concessions from his rivals. With 90% of the vote counted, Mulino held a 10-point lead.

    • Mulino entered the race late, replacing former Pres. Ricardo Martinelli after a 10-year jail sentence for money laundering prevented him from running. Mulino faced legal objections to his candidacy in the single-round election.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Despite his forced withdrawal from the race due to a jail sentence for corruption, Martinelli's popularity remains high. So an electorate that's used to its politicians having some tainted history backed the Martinelli-endorsed Mulino in hopes he can fix many of Panama's problems.

    Narrative B

    Mulino benefited from Martinelli's popularity, but whether Mulino can fulfill his promises and fix Panama's troubles remains to be seen considering the deep-rooted corruption that has hindered the country for years. But the people have spoken, so we'll find out soon if Mulino can deliver.

    Narrative C

    With Mulino in power, Panama and the US will maintain their strategic cooperation, putting an end to the increasing levels of migration via the Darien Gap. Controlling migratory flows in Panama is the first line of defense for resolving the US migration problem. Panama and the US have shared security interests, and Panama will benefit both economically and democratically from this alliance.

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