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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

Panamanian Political Party Flags

We are just a couple of weeks away from the people of Panama electing a new President - an exciting time for a lot of people: hope for change, fresh new ideas, an evolution of policies, healthy competition, and a chance to have their voices heard. As permanent residents of Panama, Ryan and I don't have the chance to vote here though it is interesting to us and our guests during this time learn how it all works.

With many countries around the world electing presidents this year, the overabundance of intense media coverage can be exceedingly overwhelming and difficult to filter through. I have to say that It's quite refreshing to live in such a remote area where we don't hear or see much of the presidential race hullabaloo - nobody calling us or knocking on our door to promote their candidates, and non-existent negative TV commercials. Our exposure is mostly just from driving along the roads where we see flags hanging out front of peoples homes in favor of their preferred political party.  

Panama is a representative democracy formed by three branches of government: executive, judicial, and legislative. The executive branch, whose main function is to enforce laws is made up of the president, vice president, and state ministers. The president and vice-president are elected by a direct popular vote for a non renewable 5 year term. The ministries of the government develop, ensure the rights, and guarantees of policies of the people. The legislative branch makes the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws.

In Panama, there are 8 political parties. The current President - Laurentino Cortizo is part of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) which is the largest political party of Panama. Founded in 1979 by General Omar Torrijos is a center-left political party. The PRD promotes progressive changes in society with respect to all its people through love of community and human solidarity. They promote progressive ideologies through inclusion of all social structures of Panama.

Founded in 1998, by former President Martinelli who was trying to run for president again this year but his time in a federal prison in Miami and now in political asylum in the Nicaraguan Embassy has disqualified him. The CD party is centre-right and the second largest political party of Panama with a focus on economic liberalism, business and capitalism through attracting tourism, tax incentives and infrastructure investments.

Established in 2022, MOCA is now the third largest political party with a modern, centre-left, big-tent political platform. Building on the anti-corruption "clean" candidate mantra, this party has sparked the interests of young voters looking for a non-traditional candidate that is pro small business, anti corruption, pro environmental strategies, and sparking a movement of a different kind of politics.

Established in 2021 by former President Martinelli after leaving the CD party. The name means realizing goals that maintains a centre-right to right wing political platform. Their focus is poverty prevention, job creation, and infrastructure expansion. 

Founded in 1981 by the Third Nationalist Party, this centre-right, pro business, liberal and conservative party is allies with the CD party and oligarchy controlled conservative organizations.

Lastly, this Christian Democratic Party was founded back in 1956, and is popular with it's conservative, nationalistic voter base that bases their social ideologies on the Catholic Church and its desire for Christian action while being also anti-establishment, and anti-elitist with a focus on economic strength through social solidarity.

Well, that sure gives the people a lot of choices and now when you're driving down the road, you might have a bit more insight to what the flags represent. Voting day is a very serious day anywhere but Panamanians embrace the opportunity of being a part of the process. In fact, in 2019 73% of the populationshowed up to vote. That's an impressive turnout.

It will be interesting to go through this soon to see who will be the next president! 

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

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