Panama’s Cortizo wins close presidential race


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Panama’s presidential candidate for the Democratic Revolutionary Party, Laurentino Cortizo, celebrates his win after being elected president of Panama in Panama City on May 5, 2019.

LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

U.S.-educated political veteran Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo won Panama’s presidential election in an unprecedented close race on Sunday, with the electoral tribunal declaring a winner after 95 per cent of votes had been counted.

In his victory speech, Cortizo called for national unity, after winning just a third of the votes with the country clearly divided about its choice in the one-round election.

“Panama won today, and today more than ever, Panama needs to join forces,” the former agriculture minister told cheering supporters in the midnight speech at his campaign hotel.

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