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Panama: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama
CapitalPanama City Panama City
geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 3 indigenous territories* (comarcas); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Embera-Wounaan*, Herrera, Kuna Yala*, Los Santos, Ngobe-Bugle*, Panama, Panama Oeste, Veraguas
Constitutionseveral previous; latest effective 11 October 1972; amended several times, last in 2004 (2010)
Executive branchchief of state: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA Rodriguez (since 1 July 2009); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA Rodriguez (since 1 July 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (president not eligible for immediate reelection and must sit out two additional terms (10 years) before becoming eligible for reelection); election last held on 3 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: Juan Carlos VARELA elected president; percent of vote - Juan Carlos VARELA 39.1%, Jose Domingo ARIAS 31.4%, Juan Carlos NAVARRO 28.2%, other 1.3%; note - Juan Carlos VARELA is expected to take office 1 July 2014
note: the ruling government coalition - formerly comprised of CD (Democratic Change), Panamenista Party, MOLIRENA (Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement), and UP (Patriotic Union Party) - split in August 2011 when President MARTINELLI relieved Vice President VARELA from his position as Foreign Minister, prompting the Panamenistas to pull out of the coalition; UP has now merged with CD, and CD and the Panamenista Party will run separate candidates for the presidency in 2014
Flag descriptiondivided 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; the blue and red colors are those of the main political parties (Conservatives and Liberals respectively) and the white denotes peace between them; the blue star stands for the civic virtues of purity and honesty, the red star signifies authority and law
Independence3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain on 28 November 1821)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 magistrates and 9 alternates and divided into civil, criminal, administrative, and general business chambers)
judge selection and term of office: magistrates appointed by the president for staggered 10-year terms
subordinate courts: appellate courts or Tribunal Superior; Labor Supreme Courts; Court of Audit; circuit courts or Tribunal Circuital (2 each in 9 provinces); municipal courts; electoral, family, maritime, and adolescent courts
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice
Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (71 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRD 26, Panamenista 22, CD 14, UP 4, MOLIRENA 2, PP 1, independents 2; note - changes in political affiliation now reflect the following seat distribution: as of 13 February 2013 - seats by party - CD 36, PRD 17, Panamenista 13, MOLIRENA 4, PP 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
International organization participationBCIE, CAN (observer), CD, CELAC, CSN (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National holidayIndependence Day, 3 November (1903)
Political pressure groups and leadersChamber of Commerce
Concertacion Nacional (mechanism for government of Panama to formally dialogue with representatives of civil society)
National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO
National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP
National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS)
Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE
Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP
Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Change or CD (Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal)
Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD (Juan Carlos NAVARRO Quelquejeu)
Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA (Sergio GONZALEZ-Ruiz)
Panamenista Party (Juan Carlos VARELA Rodriguez) (formerly the Arnulfista Party)
Popular Party or PP (Milton HENRIQUEZ) (formerly Christian Democratic Party or PDC)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Government typeconstitutional democracy
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Mario Ernesto JARAMILLO Castillo (since 17 February 2011)
chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 483-1407
FAX: (1) (202) 483-8413
consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tampa, Washington DC
National anthemname: "Himno Istmeno" (Isthmus Hymn)
lyrics/music: Jeronimo DE LA OSSA/Santos A. JORGE
note: adopted 1925
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)harpy eagle
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Jonathan D. FARRAR (since 15 May 2012)
embassy: Edificio 783, Avenida Demetrio Basilio Lakas Panama, Apartado Postal 0816-02561, Zona 5, Panama City
mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002; American Embassy Panama, 9100 Panama City PL, Washington, DC 20521-9100
telephone: (507) 317-5000
FAX: (507) 317-5568