• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

‘Crazies’ have it: Panama elects supermarket magnate Martinelli president

May 1, 2009

PANAMA CITY, Panama – A white-haired conservative businessman was declared president just two hours after the polls closed in elections held here Sunday.

With a little more than 43 percent of the votes counted, Panama´s Elections Tribunal surprised few by pronouncing Ricardo Martinelli, of the Democratic Change party, the victor.

Martinelli had been leading for a year in the polls over his opponent, Balbina Herrera of the ruling Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), by double digits since December.

Known as “El Loco ” or “The Crazy One,” Martinelli is the owner of Panama´s

Super99 supermarket chain and the former president of the Panama Canal Port Authority. Often considered uncharismatic, Martinelli earned his nickname after an e-mail was passed around alleging he suffers from bi-polar disorder. After denying the allegations, his campaign launched a new slogan – “we crazies are the majority” – that quickly took hold among his supporters countrywide.

Martinelli has promised to build a metro system for the capital as well as lower food and electricity costs and improve security.

You may be interested

Panama’s economy registers historic decline due to pandemic
Latin America
1977 views
Latin America
1977 views

Panama’s economy registers historic decline due to pandemic

AFP - March 2, 2021

The economy of Panama, one of the largest in Central America, suffered a historic contraction of 17.9% in 2020 compared…

IMF loan ‘ultimately benefits all Costa Ricans,’ Alvarado says in interview
Costa Rica
1576 views
Costa Rica
1576 views

IMF loan ‘ultimately benefits all Costa Ricans,’ Alvarado says in interview

The Tico Times - March 2, 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved a three-year, $1.78 billion loan to help stabilize Costa Rica's economy. Read: IMF…

This day in history: Pope John Paul II visits Costa Rica
A Look Back
2447 views
A Look Back
2447 views

This day in history: Pope John Paul II visits Costa Rica

The Tico Times - March 2, 2021

Tuesday is the 38th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Costa Rica. As the first pope to visit the country,…