State and politics
According to the 1972 Constitution (revised no later than
2004), the President has the executive power. The president
is elected in direct elections for a five-year term,
together with two vice presidents; a former president can
run for re-election only after two terms of office have
The 71 members of the Legislative Assembly are elected in
direct elections for five years. Panama is divided into nine
provinces governed by governors appointed by the president
as well as three autonomous territories of the indigenous
population, comarcas indígenas. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of PM and its meanings of Panama.
Also see Panama Political Reviews.
The leading parties are Partido Panameñista (PPA),
formerly called Partido Arnulfista (PA), and
Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD). The PRD was
formed by General Omar Torrijos, who was the country's
strong man and de facto leader from 1968 and until his death
in 1981. The PRD is a center-left party and had government
powers in 1994-99 and 2004-09. After the 2019 election, the
PRD was back in office after its candidate Laurentino ("Nito")
Cortizo won the presidential election and the party received
35 out of 71 seats in the parliamentary elections.
The PPA is a conservative party founded in the 1930s by
the nationalist Arnulfo Arias (1901–88). The party led the
country in 1999–2004, and its candidate Juan Carlos Varela
won the 2014 presidential election. The PPA received eight
seats in 2019.
The most votes in the 2014 parliamentary elections were
Cambio Democrático (CD), founded by businessman
Ricardo Martinelli (President 2009-14). Five years later,
the party backed to 18 parliamentary seats.
The legal system in Panama is mostly codified, including
in civil law, commercial law, criminal law, trial law and
administrative law. The judiciary consists mainly of
district courts, higher district courts and a supreme court;
In addition, there are small litigation courts, labor courts
and maritime law courts. The death penalty was abolished in
1922; the last execution took place in 1903.
Heads of State
Presidents after the 1968 coup
||Ricardo de la Espriella
||Nicolás Ardito Barletta
||Eric Arturo Delvalle
||Juan Carlos Varela
||Laurentino ("Nito") Cortizo