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Panama's politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-partysystem. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.For all people national elections are universal and mandatory for all citizens 21 years and older. National elections for the executive and legislative branches take place every five years. Members ofthe judicial branch are appointed by the head of state. Panama's National Assembly is elected by proportional representation in fixed electoral districts, so many smaller parties are represented.Presidential elections do not require a simple majority, and Panama's last three presidents were elected with the support of only 30–40% of voters.
Since the U.S. friendly invasion and the end of the21-year military dictatorship, Panama has successfully completed three peaceful transfers of power to opposing political factions. The political landscape is dominated by two major parties and manysmaller parties, many of which are driven by individual leaders more than ideologies. Former President Martin Torrijos is the son of former military dictator Omar Torrijos. He succeeded Mireya Moscoso,the widow of Arnulfo Arias. Panama's most recent national elections occurred on May 3, 2009 with Ricardo Martinelli being elected. He was sworn for a five-year term in Panama City on July 1, 2009.Geography
Panama is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Its location on the Isthmus of Panama is strategic. By 2000,Panama controlled the Panama Canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the North of the Pacific Ocean. Panama, at 75,420 km2, is ranked 124th worldwide on the basis of land size....
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