Stable Democratic Government

Panama’s Democratic Government: 21 years later, a success story in Central America

Panama has come a long way since the days when the government of Manuel Noriega ruled the country and George H.W. Bush invaded. After the invasion, a new democratic government was set up and new elections held. Twenty one years later, Panama is a peaceful and prosperous country with a stable government under President Ricardo Martinelli.

President Martinelli was elected in July, 2009 by a landslide. His key campaign promises were to cut political corruption and improve Panama’s infrastructure, making it more attractive to foreign investors and retirees.

The government is run by a president, who is elected to a five year term and similar to the American president, he is elected to be both head of state and head of government (most countries have separated these positions, such as England's king who is head of state while the British prime minister is head of government).

Another testament to the democratic traditions in Panama is the fact that almost anyone can run for government office and there are dozens of small parties who compete for the 71-member National Assembly. In fact, because the vote is split between so many parties, no party has been able to garner an absolute majority in the elections and as such, a coalition government is the order of the day.

On the street, the democratic government presence is felt in the form of improved government services, a well run police force which resists the corruption common in other Central American nations and government offices which are actually responsible to the citizenship.