Officially: República de Panamá.
Seat of government: Panamá.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly by plurality. The legislature (Asamblea Nacional) is elected in geographical constituencies, by plurality for single-member districts and proportional representation for multi-member districts.
Chief governing party: Partido Revolucionario Democrático.
Head of government: Laurentino Cortizo, president (since 2019).
Other legislative parties: Cambio Democrático; Partido Panameñista (Partido Arnulfista); Movimiento Liberal Republicano Nacionalista.
Assessment: The PRD, created by dictator Omar Torrijos (1968-81, and father of Martín Torrijos Espino, president from 2004-9), is the single largest legislative party, and has won three presidential elections since the fall of dictator Manuel Noriega (1983-9). A 2009 presidential election was won soundly by Ricardo Martinelli (2009-14) of CD. His successor, Juan Carlos Varela (2014-9) of the PP, by contrast, was elected by a plurality in 2014. No party or coalition secured a legislative majority in the 2014 elections. Cortizo was elected by a narrow plurality in 2019 over Rómulo Roux of CD, while his party won a slim majority of legislative seats with just 30% of the vote.
FH: 1-2, free. Econ: 7.35 (43), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2021 June 17.