The Supreme Court of Panama approves Mulino’s candidacy:

Panama’s Supreme Court on Friday declared the presidential candidacy of right-wing José Raúl Mulino, replacement for disqualified former President Ricardo Martinelli and favorite to win Sunday’s elections, as constitutional, the court announced.

The Court “declares that it is not unconstitutional” the decision of the Electoral Tribunal that accepted Mulino’s appointment in place of Martinelli, said María Eugenia López, president of the judicial body, who spoke to journalists as the court has been closed since Tuesday doors met. .

Mulino, a 64-year-old lawyer, replaced Martinelli after he was disqualified following a confirmed conviction of nearly 11 years in prison for money laundering, and he applied for asylum at the Nicaraguan embassy.

A private lawyer then filed a complaint against the Electoral Tribunal for unconstitutionality, arguing that Mulino did not go through a primary election nor have a vice presidential candidate, as required by law.

“What has motivated the Court in the historical moment in which we find ourselves is to defend our homeland and democracy, its institutions, social peace, the right to choose and be elected, and political pluralism,” explained the magistrate.

The Supreme Court’s decision kept the country on edge this week during the final stretch of these elections, which call on three of Panama’s 4.4 million people to elect a president in a single round with a simple majority, 71 deputies and local representatives. governments.

Mulino, former Minister of Security under Martinelli (2009-2014) and candidate of the Realizando Metas party (RM, initials of the former governor), has a voting intention of 37.6%, according to the latest survey by Mercadeo Planificado for the newspaper La Prensa, published Thursday.

He is followed by former Social Democratic President Martín Torrijos (2004–2009), with 16.4% in voting intentions, and the centre-right lawyers Rómulo Roux, with 14.9%, and Ricardo Lombana, with 12.7%.