Former Panamanian minister Laurentino Cortizo declares victory in presidential vote

Laurentino Cortizo

Former Panamanian minister Laurentino Cortizo declared victory in presidential polls on Sunday that saw a large number of voters turn out amid concerns over corruption scandals and the country’s image as a money launderer’s paradise. But Panama’s Electoral Tribunal has yet to announce an official result due to the narrow difference in tallies between contenders for the country’s top office.

“I feel very happy. I won. We won. What we have to do now is join forces as a country,” Social Democrat Cortizo told reporters. Cortizo was favoured to win, with pre-election polls giving him a 10-point lead over his closest challenger, former foreign minister Romulo Roux of the Democratic Change party. Independent Ricardo Lombana was a close third in the polls.

With 90.9 per cent of the vote counted, Cortizo led with 33 per cent, followed by Roux

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