The Latest: Panama court: Cortizo to win presidential race

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PANAMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on Panama (all times local):

11:00 a.m.

Panama’s Electoral Court has declared opposition candidate Laurentino Cortizo the winner of the country’s presidential elections.

The court says Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party won 33%, with 95% of votes counted.

It says the cattle rancher will formally be named president-elect on Thursday.

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Cortizo said just after midnight Monday that he was calling on Panamanians “to join in a national effort to correct the country’s path, rescue the country, and get the economy on the right track.”

Second-place candidate and businessman Rómulo Roux won 31% of the vote but has refused to concede defeat.

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7:20 a.m.

Cattle rancher Laurentino Cortizo is holding on to his narrow lead in Panama’s presidential election with the vote count nearing an end.

With 95% of the votes counted, Cortizo has a lead of just over 2 percentage points over businessman Rómulo Roux Monday morning.

Cortizo’s lead amounts to nearly 41,000 votes out of almost 2 million votes cast. Panama’s Electoral Court expects the national vote-counting board to confirm Cortizo, of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party, as the winner after a final recount of the vote.

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3:15 a.m.

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Panama’s Electoral Court expects the National Scrutiny Board to confirm the opposition candidate, Laurentino Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, as the winner of the presidential election after a final recount of the vote.

The Electoral Court announced late Sunday that Cortizo was the “virtual winner” of the election with 92% of the ballot boxes counted, after a tight race between the country’s two most important rival political forces.

Presidential candidate Rómulo Roux rejected those preliminary results, which put him in second place.

According to the early results, Cortizo won 33% of the votes versus 31% for Roux, who is from former President Ricardo Martinelli’s Democratic Change party.

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2:55 a.m.

Presidential candidate Rómulo Roux of Panama has rejected the preliminary results announced by the country’s Electoral Court that put him in second place.

The Court declared opposition candidate, Laurentino Cortizo as the “virtual winner” of Sunday’s presidential race by a narrow lead of 2 percentage points pending the final recount.

Roux claimed, without offering immediate proof, that his campaign had been hindered by irregularities in the vote.

According to the early results, Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party had won 33% of the votes versus 31% for Roux, who is from former President Ricardo Martinelli’s Democratic Change party.

There is no presidential runoff in Panama, so the top vote-getter in the field of seven mostly business-friendly candidates wins outright and takes office July 1 for a five-year term.

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2 a.m.

Panama’s Electoral Court has declared opposition candidate Laurentino Cortizo the “virtual winner” in the country’s tight presidential election late Sunday.

The vote followed a campaign focused on corruption and slowing economic growth in this Central America trade and financial hub and turned into the tightest presidential contest in recent years.

After scrutinizing the results from 92% of polling stations, electoral court magistrate Heriberto Araúz said in a televised announcement shortly before midnight that Cortizo had a narrow lead of 2 percentage points over businessman Rómulo Roux. The unexpectedly close race pitted the candidates of the country’s two most important opposition political forces.

Cortizo, of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, had 33% of the votes versus 31% for Roux, from former President Ricardo Martinelli’s Democratic Change party. There is no runoff in Panama, so the top vote-getter in the field of seven mostly business-friendly candidates wins outright and takes office July 1 for a five-year term.

Before the magistrate’s announcement, Roux vowed not to concede defeat, saying the results were too close and suggesting that the race was marred by irregularities.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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