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Panama Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Panama
    conventional short form: Panama
    local long form: Republica de Panama
    local short form: Panama

    Data code: PM

    Government type: constitutional republic

    Capital: Panama

    Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (provincias, singular—provincia) and 2 territories* (comarca); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, San Blas*, Veraguas, and a new, as yet unnamed territory* or comarca created 7 March 1997 when President PEREZ BALLADARES signed a bill designating a reserve stretched across three provinces

    Independence: 3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain 28 November 1821)

    National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1903)

    Constitution: 11 October 1972; major reforms adopted April 1983

    Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Ernesto PEREZ BALLADARES (since 1 September 1994); First Vice President Tomas ALTAMIRANO Duque (since 1 September 1994); Second Vice President Felipe VIRZI (since 1 September 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Ernesto PEREZ BALLADARES (since 1 September 1994); First Vice President Tomas ALTAMIRANO Duque (since 1 September 1994); Second Vice President Felipe VIRZI (since 1 September 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 8 May 1994 (next to be held 2 May 1999)
    election results: Ernesto PEREZ BALLADARES elected president; percent of vote—Ernesto PEREZ BALLADARES (PRD) 33%, Mireya MOSCOSO DE GRUBER (PA) 29%, Ruben BLADES (MPE) 17%, Ruben Dario CARLES (MOLIRENA) 16%

    Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held 8 May 1994 (next to be held 2 May 1999)
    election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PRD 32, PS 4, PALA 1, PA 14, MPE 6, MOLIRENA 4, PLA 3, PRC 3, PLN 2, PDC 1, UDI 1, MORENA 1
    note: legislators from outlying rural districts are chosen on a plurality basis while districts located in more populous towns and cities elect multiple legislators by means of a proportion-based formula

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia), nine judges appointed for 10-year terms; five superior courts; three courts of appeal

    Political parties and leaders:
    governing coalition: Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD [Gerardo GONZALEZ]; National Liberal Party or PLN [Raul ARANGO, founder]; Popular Nationalist Party [Jorge FLORES]
    other parties: Solidarity Party or PS [Carlos CLEMENT]; Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Guillermo FORD]; Arnulfista Party or PA [Mireya MOSCOSO DE GRUBER]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ruben AROSEMENA]; Papa Egoro Movement or MPE [Ruben BLADES]; Civic Renewal Party or PRC [Sandra ESCORCIA]; National Renovation Movement or MORENA [Pedro VALLARINO]; Authentic Liberal Party or PLA [leader NA]; Labor Party or PALA [leader NA]; Independent Democratic Union or UDI [leader NA]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO; National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP; Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE; National Civic Crusade; Chamber of Commerce; Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP; Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP

    International organization participation: CAN (associate), CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Eloy ALFARO de Alba
    chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Simon FERRO
    embassy: Avenida Balboa and Calle 38, Apartado 6959, Panama City 5
    mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002
    telephone: [507] 227-1377
    FAX: [507] 227-1964

    Flag description: divided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red, the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)