Grocery Magnate Elected President of Panama

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Grocery Magnate Elected President of Panama

Panamanian supermarket tycoon Ricardo Martinelli yesterday won Panama's presidential election in a landslide vote, and many believe his conservative pro-business stance will help continue the country’s strong growth.

Martinelli owns Panama's largest supermarket chain, Super 99, and is a former government minister of Panama Canal affairs. According to published reports, he’s one of Panama's richest men, his wealth estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. He has interests in a major Panamanian bank, real estate, hydroelectric energy and sugar.

In addition to pledging to bring foreign investors into tourism projects, like cruise ports and airports, Martinelli promises fiscal discipline and stronger relationship with the United States.

This was Martinelli’s second run at the presidency. In 2004, he finished last out of four candidates, with 5.3 percent of the vote.