Cambio Democratico (Democratic Change): continuity or change in Panama

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The current government, led by Ricardo Martinelli, has a few more months left before the upcoming elections on 2014. Unquestionable winner of the past 2009 elections, Martinelli  led Cambio Democratico (CD) party to the highest level of success ever seen, obtaining more than 60% of the citizens’ votes.

Maybe he didn’t fit the natural profile of a candidate due to his well-off social standing as a successful entrepreneur; however he has taken Panama’s leadership handling the opposing forces masterfully.

During his mandate, the numbers speak for themselves. Economically, he has managed to increase the country’s activity and development. Unemployment and poverty have decreased through the years (unemployment decreased from 6.6% to 4%, and poverty indexes went down from 33.4%  to 25.8%). He has done a great job that has been highly praised.

He has boosted the development of infrastructures to create a modern Panama with comprehensive services that help citizens have a better quality of life: hospitals, modern road network , new airports, etc.

On the other hand, he has been accused of adopting a confrontation style and an authority profile towards the political class, avoiding communication and consultation of his proposals, besides the idea that the country’s  economic growth has been fruitless for its citizens’ lives.

Before this new upcoming stage for the current president,  he is supporting a candidate with a different profile:  Jose Domingo Arias. In words of Martinelli: “I am transferring my legacy to Jose Domingo Arias because he is better than me”.

Jose Domingo Arias campaign  ruling the CD has been transparent and open for all the citizens of Panama, boosting their participation and the bases and guidelines for the future government of Panama. A closer, more popular politician than his  party colleague.

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He has political experience. He held the post of  Vice-Minister of Foreign Commerce promoting direct foreign investment. On 2011 he embraced the challenge provided by Martinelli as Minister of Housing and Regional Planning, completing the long-awaited Curundu project.

Citizens must put their trust in a change in the ways and a serious continuity of the country’s economic development, or on the contrary, in a copy of the current government, which arises doubts on the constituents.

Domingo Arias is undertaking the task of differentiating himself from his party colleague, focusing on important points of his program less valuated on previous years, like the role of women on Panama’s society and their problems. The young is another of his basic pillars. In his own words: “Young people are a strategic value for the future”, favoring this important nucleus of population.

The surveys on voter intention greatly favor Cambio Democratico’s victory on the next elections on 2014, even though the citizens of Panama who have to decide the future course of their country for the next years have the last word.

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