|President Juan Carlos Varela|
Varela, who was currently serving the country as vice president, received just over 39 percent of the vote.
Varela received around 670,028 votes, according to the preliminary numbers. Valera defeated the other six candidates in the race to gain the office.
Juan Carlos Varela will succeed current President Ricardo Martinelli, who has been in office since 2009. Varela said in a statement posted on social media. “Thank you very much, I love you so much Panama!”
Valera worked in political campaigns from the 1990s, where he was chief of the Panameñista Party campaign in 1994 and was the Panameñista Party's presidential candidate in 2014. Valera served as Vice President under President Ricardo Martinelli and was sworn in on May 3, 2009. Varela’s win in 2014 was impressive especially where he won against the ruling-party candidate José Domingo Arias, the ruling party led by outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli.
This is a wonderful event for Panama, and quite special when the president of a fine country like Panama elects a member of one of the finest rum making families in the world as president. Valera Hermanos family have since 1908 been producing rum and other spirits in Pese`. Panama Abuelo Rums along with Seco Herrerano spirits that are enjoyed by millions around the world come from this family’s heritage. The Verela Hermanos Family has been making profound contributions to the people of Panama since the days of Don Jose Varela Blanco and the founding of the company. Juan Carlos Varela has been on the Board of Directors since 1985 and executive Vice President until 2008.