Panama profile

President: Juan Carlos Varela

Juan Carlos Varela Mr Varela's poll victory came as a surprise

Juan Carlos Varela came from behind to win the presidential election in May 2014.

Panama's vice-president and a former ally of outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli, Mr Varela won a clear majority and easily defeated the president's hand-picked successor, Jose Domingo Arias.

Mr Varela leads the conservative Panamenista Party and helped Mr Martinelli get elected in 2009. But the two had a bitter falling out in 2011, when Mr Varela was fired from his job as foreign minister. He subsequently became one of Mr Martinelli's fiercest critics, accusing his government of corruption.

Mr Varela, aged 50, is the scion of one of Panama's richest families and studied engineering in the United States. He is likely to continue many of Mr Martinelli's economic policies, but says he will focus on helping the poor and reducing inequality.

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • OrchestraSound of success

    How one of Turkey’s finest orchestras found global fame

Programmes

  • Ebola patients in Sierra LeoneHARDtalk Watch

    Dr Geraldine O'Hara recalls the horrors of working on the Ebola frontline in Sierra Leone

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.