Weekly Report - 04 July 2024 (WR-24-26)

PANAMA: Mulino takes up the reins

José Raúl Mulino has been sworn-in as Panama’s new president for a five-year term. In his inaugural address, Mulino, who served as interior and security minister under populist right-wing former president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), alluded to key voter complaints. These relate in large part to the economy (affected by the closure last year under the Partido Revolucionario Democrático [PRD] administration led by Laurentino Cortizo [2019-2024] of the massive Cobre Panamá copper mine), along with perennial gripes regarding institutional corruption (though Mulino’s ties to the convicted former president raise questions as to how far this will be tackled [WR-24-18]). Mulino also highlighted another key priority upon taking office – curbing illegal migration through the Darién Gap, a roadless expanse of jungle on Panama’s border with Colombia, through which thousands travel on to the US. He has already moved swiftly on this, signing a new migration agreement with the US.

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