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Panama leader's deputy-turned-rival wins presidency

Published on May 5, 2014 9:27 AM
Panamanian presidential candidate for the Panamenista Party (PP), Juan Carlos Varela, smiles in Panama City, on May 3, 2014, on the eve of presidential elections. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PANAMA CITY (REUTERS) - Panama's vice-president, running as an opposition candidate, won the country's presidential election on Sunday after a campaign in which he took credit for outgoing leader Ricardo Martinelli's policies but promised a cleaner government.

Juan Carlos Varela of the center-right Panamenista Party (PP) helped Martinelli get elected as president in 2009 but later fell out with him. He has vowed to cut the cost of living, reduce poverty and tackle corruption.

Panama's election tribunal pronounced Varela the winner after he secured almost 40 percent of the vote with more than 60 percent of votes counted.

He had a comfortable lead over his two main rivals, ruling party candidate Jose Domingo Arias and left-leaning former Panama City mayor Juan Carlos Navarro of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

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