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Panama: Country and Foreign Investment


The Republic of Panama is an independent, sovereign state. The democratically elected government has three branches: the Executive branch comprises the independently-elected President and two Vice-Presidents, who appoint a cabinet of twelve Ministers of State; the elected unicameral Legislative Assembly is made up of 71 deputies; the Supreme Court of Justice has nine judges appointed for 10-year terms, and there are two lower levels of court.

There are political parties: until late 1999 a coalition of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, the Popular Nationalist Party and the National Liberal Party was in power, led by President Ernesto Balladares. From September 1999 until May 2004, a coalition led by the Arnulfista party governed, led by President Mireya Moscoso, widow of former long-time president Arnulfo Arias Madrid. President Martin Torrijos (son of Omar Torrijos, who ruled Panama between 1968 and 1981) was head of state until July 1, 2009.

After losing the presidential battle in 1999, Torrijos assumed leadership of his father's party, sought to reform it, and created a platform based on combating corruption, boosting employment, and reforming Panama's fiscal system.

Panamanian businessman Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, leader of the Democratic Change party, is the current President after he won 60% of the popular vote in the May 3, 2009 election.



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