The political system of Panama lies within the framework of the presidential elective. This means that the President is the head of the state and he is elected by the people. The executive decision making power lies in the hands of the government. The legislative power authority is vested in the National Assembly and the government. The judiciary is an independent organization and it does not come under the preview of executive legislature.
The national elections are of universal nature. They are open to all citizens of Panama however the mandatory minimum age of voting is fixed at 18 years. The national elections for the executive council are held every 5 years and the head of the party that has won the elections becomes the President. He then appoints his own council of ministers who becomes a part of the executive committee. The head of the state appoints the judicial branch consisting of justices.
The National Assembly of Panama is elected on a proportional basis in the fixed electoral districts. This way many small parties have a chance to represent themselves. Normally the presidential elections don’t require a simple majority. For example, out of the last four presidents only one president was elected by having 50% majority vote.
The invasion of USA put an end to the 21 year old military ruler. The country has transferred power peacefully for about 4 times in the past. There are two major parties that control the political landscape with several minor parties. These parties are driven by the different ideologies of the individual leaders. The most recent elections were held on May 3, 2009. The new president elected was Ricardo Martinelli. He has sworn for a five year term which will end in 2014.