Torrijos was elected President on 2 May 2004. As the candidate of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) – running as the Patria Nueva alliance, with the support of the smaller People's Party (PP) – Torrijos won the presidential election with about 47% of the vote, defeating three rivals. His closest challenger, former President Guillermo Endara of the Solidarity Party, conceded defeat after finishing 17 percentage points behind Torrijos.
The result had been widely expected: prior to the vote, Torrijos was well ahead of his three competitors in the opinion polls. He took office on 1 September 2004.
Martín Torrijos is the son of Omar Torrijos Herrera, who served as Panama's de facto president from 1968 to 1978. The younger Torrijos studied political science and economics at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States. During the presidency of Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994–1999) he served as deputy minister for the interior and justice.
He also ran as the PRD's candidate in the 1999 Panamanian presidential election but was beaten into second place by Mireya Moscoso of the Arnulfista Party, whose husband had been deposed by Omar Torrijos in a 1968 coup d'état. Mireya Moscoso's government ended with an approval rate of about 15%, mostly because of corruption scandals and incompetence, on which Torrijos capitalized successfully with a campaign that had three top priorities: fight corruption, create more jobs and improve security. Moscoso's hand-picked candidate ended in a distant third place with about 16% of the vote, having to carry the government's huge burden.
Martín Torrijos Espino is married and has three children.
|President of Panama|
September 1, 2004 – Current President