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 Panameñista (Partido Arnulfista).
Head of government: Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, PP, president.
Legislative parties: Unidos por Más Cambios (Cambio Democrático; Movimiento Liberal Republicano Nacionalista); Partido Revolucionario Democrático; El Pueblo Primero (Partido Panameñista (Partido Arnulfista); Partido Popular).
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 two presidential elections since the fall of dictator Manuel Noriega (1983-9). A 2009 presidential election was won soundly by Ricardo Martinelli of the CD. Varela, by contrast, was elected by a plurality in 2014. No party or coalition secured a legislative majority in the 2014 elections.
FH: 1-2, free. Econ: 7.35 (43), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2014 October 23.