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Economy / Panama


May 2012 | Risk Summary

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, is facing questions over whether he accepted bribes from Italian companies in return for granting contracts to build prisons. While Panama's press had noted the possibility of impropriety in the past, the April 15 arrest of Valter Lavitola, an unofficial aide to the former Italian prime minister, reignited the story. We expect this to further weigh on Martinelli's popularity. Given his already low popular approval rating and slim majority in the legislature, this scandal will make it even more difficult for the president to push through legislation, further reinforcing our call that little substantive policymaking will occur until the next election in 2014.

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