Panama’s former mayor Juan Carlos Navarro, on Sunday, August 25, moved a step closer to his ambition of becoming the PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party) presidential candidate in the 2014 election.
He was elected secretary general of the party, the largest opposition group, by easily defeating Michell Doens at a party conference, Doens was seeking reelection to the post and had been a strong critic of the Navarro campaign with allegations swirling that it was being funded by no less that President Ricardo Martinelli, in an attempt to keep his hands on the steering wheel of power,
Meanwhile Navarro has been working assiduously as a pre- presidential candidate reaching audiences far removed from the Panamanian political scene, like the British Chamber of Commerce where he stressed his determination to improve education in the country and refurbish schools, some of which, he said, had not been improved since they were built by the first PRD leader, Omar Torrijos.
He also promised to pursue current political insiders and politicians who have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.
2000 Navarro won handsomely with 2,567 votes to 1,181 for his prime opponent Mitchell Doens.
4,105 delegates were accredited to cast their votes. The PRD is the leading opposition party in the country.
Voting was done by a newly introduced electronic voting system, producing irregularities which delayed the final announcement of the results until late in the evening and led to scuffles, and a vote lasting almost 10 hours.
The result was announced at 6:15 pm, but it was not until at 10:45 pm that the final figures were confirmed and showing that the Navarro group swept the voting for the 10 places on the National Executive Committee (NEC) which will lead the party.
Deputy Benicio Robinson won the presidency by defeating Francisco Sanchez Cardenas.
"Panama won, democracy won and the PRD won " said Navarro on Twitter to confirm his victory. He said the result will ensure unity of the opposition.
Doens said: "You have to respect what the the polls said and now we are going to join those who will lead us to victory in 2014."