Supermarket magnate wins Panama Presidential vote

May 3, 2009 5:46:10 PM PDT
With 44 percent of the votes counted Martinelli is the "indisputable winner"By KATHIA MARTINEZ

Associated Press Writer

PANAMA CITY (AP) -- Panama's Electoral Tribunal says conservative supermarket magnate Ricardo Martinelli has won the Central American nation's presidential elections.

Tribunal President Erasmo Pinilla says that with 44 percent of the votes counted Martinelli is the "indisputable winner" of Sunday's voting.

Martinelli, of the opposition Alliance for Change, topped former Housing Minister Balbina Herrera of Panama's governing coalition, which is led by the Democratic Revolutionary Party. Pinilla said he telephoned Martinelli to inform him of his victory.

The winner, whose term ends in 2014, will have to guide Panama through the world economic crisis and the $5.25 billion expansion of the canal to increase its capacity and accommodate larger ships.