PANAMA CITY (AP) — A cattleman held on to a narrow lead over a businessman late Sunday as returns came in from Panama’s tightest presidential election in recent years, following a campaign that focused on corruption and slowing economic growth in this Central America trade and financial hub.
The Electoral Court said it needed more ballots to be counted before declaring a winner. There is no runoff in Panama, so the top vote-getter in the field of seven mostly business-friendly candidates would win outright.
With more than 91% of votes counted, Laurentino Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party led, with almost 33%. That was just ahead of Rómulo Roux of the Democratic Change party at 31%. About 36,000 votes separated the two men, who together received around 1.2 million votes.
Speaking to reporters, Cortizo said he expected to soon receive a phone call from the Electoral Court to announce his victory. Supporters