List of heads of state of Panama

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President of the Republic of Panama
Presidente de la República de Panamá
Presidential Flag of Panama.svg
Presidential Standard
Coat of Arms of Panama.svg
Coat of Arms of Panama
Laurentino Cortizo (cropped).jpg
Laurentino Cortizo

since 1 July 2019
Residence Palacio de las Garzas, Panama City
Term length Five years
not eligible for re-election immediately
Inaugural holder Manuel Amador Guerrero
Formation20 February 1904
Deputy Vice President of Panama
Website Presidencia de la República
Coat of arms of Panama.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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This article lists the heads of state of Panama since the short-lived first independence from the Republic of New Granada in 1840 and the final separation from Colombia in 1903.

Panama Republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.

Republic of New Granada former republic in South America and Central America between 1831–1858

The Republic of New Granada was a centralist republic consisting primarily of present-day Colombia and Panama with smaller portions of today's Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil. It was created after the dissolution in 1830 of Gran Colombia, with the secession of Ecuador and Venezuela and was formed by the departments of Boyaca, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, and Istmo, all parts of the present Republic of Colombia. except Istmo, which is part of present-day Panama). In November 1831, those departments created the Republic of New Granada, but nothing was established about a flag. Old flags were confirmed provisional by the National Convention of 17 December 1831. However, it is not clear what flag it was: Restrepo believes that it is the flag with two cornucopias of Gran Colombia. While new flags were discussed, some proposals were issued. On 9 May 1834, the national flag was adopted and was used until 26 November 1861, with the Gran Colombian colors in Veles' arrangement. The merchant ensign had the eight-pointed star in white.

Separation of Panama from Colombia

The separation of Panama from Colombia was formalized on 3 November 1903, with the establishment of the Republic of Panama. From the Independence of Panama from Spain in 1821, Panama had simultaneously declared independence from Spain and joined itself to the confederation of Gran Colombia through the Independence Act of Panama. Panama was always tenuously connected to the rest of the country to the south, owing to its remoteness from the government in Bogotá and lack of a practical overland connection to the rest of Gran Colombia. In 1840-1841, a short-lived independent republic was established under Tomás de Herrera. After rejoining Colombia following a 13-month independence, it remained a province which saw frequent rebellious flare-ups, notably the Panama crisis of 1885, which saw the intervention of the United States Navy.


Free State of the Isthmus (1840–1841)

A general officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

Tomás de Herrera President of New Grenada

Tomás José Ramón del Carmen de Herrera y Pérez Dávila was a Neogranadine statesman and general who in 1840 became Head of State of the Free State of the Isthmus, a short lived independent state which is located in what is now Panama. Tomás de Herrera also became President of the Republic of the New Granada in 1854 during the rebellion against the incumbent president José María Melo.

Republic of Panama (1903–present)

President of the Municipal Council of Panama and de facto President (1903)

PortraitTerm of Office
Demetrio H. Brid
Demetrio H. Brid.jpg 3 November 19034 November 1903

Members of the Provisional Government Junta (1903–1904)

PortraitTerm of Office
José Agustín Arango
Jose-Agustin-Arango.jpg 4 November 190320 February 1904
Tomás Arias
Tomas Arias p319.jpg
Federico Boyd
Manuel Espinosa Batista
Manuel Espinosa Batista.jpg 9 November 19037 December 1903

Presidents of Panama (1904–present)

Term of OfficePolitical Affiliation Election Notes
1 Manuel Amador Guerrero
Amador Guerrero, Manuel.jpg 20 February 190423 June 1907 [1] Conservative Party 1904
2 José Domingo de Obaldía
Jose Domingo de Obaldia.jpg 24 June 1907 [1] 27 December 1907 [1] National Liberal Party
(1) Manuel Amador Guerrero
Amador Guerrero, Manuel.jpg 29 December 1907 [1] 1 October 1908 Conservative Party
(2) José Domingo de Obaldía
Jose Domingo de Obaldia.jpg 1 October 19081 March 1910 National Liberal Party 1908 Died in office.
Carlos Antonio Mendoza
Carlos Antonio Mendoza.jpg 1 March 19101 October 1910 National Liberal Party Acting President.
Federico Boyd
FBoyd4.jpg 1 October 19105 October 1910 National Liberal Party Acting President.
Pablo Arosemena
Pabloarosemena.jpg 5 October 19101 October 1912 National Liberal Party Acting President.
3 Belisario Porras Barahona
Belisario Porras Barahona.gif 1 October 19121 October 1916 National Liberal Party 1912 First tenure.
4 Ramón Maximiliano Valdés
RMvaldes7.jpg 1 October 19163 June 1918 National Liberal Party 1916 Died in office.
Ciro Luis Urriola
8CiroU.jpg 3 June 19181 October 1918 National Liberal Party Acting President.
Pedro Antonio Díaz
Pedro Antonio Diaz.jpg 1 October 191812 October 1918 Conservative Party Acting President.
(3) Belisario Porras Barahona
Belisario Porras Barahona.gif 12 October 191830 January 1920 National Liberal Party 1918 Second tenure.
Ernesto Tisdel Lefevre
Ernesto Tisdel Lefevre.jpg 30 January 19201 October 1920 National Liberal Party Acting President.
(3) Belisario Porras Barahona
Belisario Porras Barahona.gif 1 October 19201 October 1924 National Liberal Party 1920 Third tenure.
5 Rodolfo Chiari
Rodolfo Chiari.jpg 1 October 19241 October 1928 National Liberal Party 1924
6 Florencio Harmodio Arosemena
Florencio Harmodio Arosemena.jpg 1 October 19283 January 1931 National Liberal Party 1928 Deposed in a coup d'état.
Harmodio Arias Madrid
No image.png 3 January 193116 January 1931 Independent Acting President.
7 Ricardo Joaquín Alfaro Jované
Ricardo J. Alfaro.jpg 16 January 19315 June 1932 National Liberal Party
8 Harmodio Arias Madrid
No image.png 5 June 19321 October 1936 National Revolutionary Party 1932
9 Juan Demóstenes Arosemena
No image.png 1 October 193616 December 1939 National Liberal Party 1936 Died in office.
Ezequiel Fernández
No image.png 16 December 193918 December 1939 National Revolutionary Party Acting President.
Augusto Samuel Boyd
No image.png 18 December 19391 October 1940 National Revolutionary Party Acting President.
10 Arnulfo Arias
Monumento a Arnulfo Arias Madrid..-.jpg 1 October 19409 October 1941 National Revolutionary Party 1940 First tenure.
Deposed in a coup d'état.
11 Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango
No image.png 9 October 194115 June 1945 Independent
Enrique Adolfo Jiménez
No image.png 15 June 19457 August 1948 National Liberal Party 1945 Provisional President.
12 Domingo Díaz Arosemena
No image.png 7 August 194828 July 1949 National Liberal Party 1948 Resigned after a heart attack, and died less than a month later.
13 Daniel Chanis Pinzón
No image.png 28 July 194920 November 1949 National Liberal Party
14 Roberto Francisco Chiari Remón
Roberto F. Chiari.jpg 20 November 194924 November 1949 National Liberal Party First tenure.
(10) Arnulfo Arias
Monumento a Arnulfo Arias Madrid..-.jpg 24 November 19499 May 1951 Panameñista Party Second tenure.
15 Alcibíades Arosemena
No image.png 9 May 19511 October 1952 Authentic Revolutionary Party
16 José Antonio Remón Cantera
Estatua de Jose Antonio Remon Cantera - Sede de la Policia Nacional de Panama (2012).jpg 1 October 19522 January 1955 National Patriotic Coalition 1952 Assassinated.
17 José Ramón Guizado
No image.png 2 January 195529 March 1955 National Patriotic Coalition
18 Ricardo Arias
No image.png 29 March 19551 October 1956 National Patriotic Coalition
19 Ernesto de la Guardia
No image.png 1 October 19561 October 1960 National Patriotic Coalition 1956
(14) Roberto Francisco Chiari Remón
Roberto F. Chiari 1962.jpg 1 October 19601 October 1964 National Liberal Party 1960 Second tenure.
20 Marco Aurelio Robles
No image.png 1 October 19641 October 1968 National Liberal Party 1964
(10) Arnulfo Arias
Monumento a Arnulfo Arias Madrid..-.jpg 1 October 196811 October 1968 Panameñista Party 1968 Third tenure.
Deposed in a coup d'état .
José María Pinilla Fábrega
No image.png 12 October 196818 December 1969 National Guard Chairman of the Provisional Junta.
21 Colonel
Bolívar Urrutia Parrilla
No image.png President.
22 Demetrio B. Lakas
No image.png 19 December 196911 October 1978 Independent 1972 Chairman of the Provisional Junta to 11 October 1972.
23 Aristides Royo
(born 1940)
Aristides Royo (6713987733) (cropped).jpg 11 October 197831 July 1982 Democratic Revolutionary Party 1978
24 Ricardo de la Espriella
(born 1934)
De-la-espriella-crop.jpg 31 July 198213 February 1984 Democratic Revolutionary Party
25 Jorge Illueca
No image.png 13 February 198411 October 1984 Independent
26 Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino
(born 1938)
Nicolas Ardito Barletta Vallarino.jpg 11 October 198428 September 1985 Democratic Revolutionary Party 1984
Eric Arturo Delvalle
No image.png 28 September 198526 February 1988 Republican Party Acting President.
Manuel Solís Palma
No image.png 26 February 19881 September 1989 Democratic Revolutionary Party Acting President.
Francisco Rodríguez
(born 1938)
No image.png 1 September 198920 December 1989 Democratic Revolutionary Party Provisional President.
Deposed in the US invasion.
27 Guillermo Endara
Guillermo Endara 1993.jpg 20 December 19891 September 1994 Panameñista Party 1989
28 Ernesto Pérez Balladares
(born 1946)
Mr. Ernesto Perez Balladares.jpg 1 September 19941 September 1999 Democratic Revolutionary Party 1994
29 Mireya Moscoso
(born 1946)
Mireya Moscoso.jpg 1 September 19991 September 2004 Panameñista Party 1999 Widow of Arnulfo Arias.
30 Martín Torrijos
(born 1963)
Panama.MartinTorrijos.01.jpg 1 September 20041 July 2009 Democratic Revolutionary Party 2004 Son of Omar Torrijos.
31 Ricardo Martinelli
(born 1951)
Ricardo Martinelli Presidente de Panama.jpg 1 July 20091 July 2014 Democratic Change 2009
32 Juan Carlos Varela
(born 1963)
Juan Carlos Varela (2014).jpg 1 July 20141 July 2019 Panameñista Party 2014
33 Laurentino Cortizo
(born 1953)
Laurentino Cortizo (cropped).jpg 1 July 2019Incumbent
(Term ends on 1 July 2024)
Democratic Revolutionary Party 2019

Military (de facto) leaders of Panama (1968–1989)

Panama was from 1968–1989 de facto controlled by a military junta which appointed the nominal president, who himself had little power, while the junta and its leaders, while not official heads of state, exerted actual control over the country. Leaders of the junta were styled "Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution".

A military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term junta comes from Spanish and Portuguese and means committee, specifically a board of directors. Sometimes it becomes a military dictatorship, though the terms are not synonymous.

Term of OfficeMilitary AffiliationNotes
1 Brigadier-General
Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos 1977.jpg 11 October 196831 July 1981 National Guard Styled as Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution from 1972.
Killed in an air crash.
2 Colonel
Florencio Flores Aguilar
No image.png 31 July 19813 March 1982 National Guard
3 Colonel
Rubén Darío Paredes
No image.png 3 March 198212 August 1983 National Guard
4 General
Manuel Noriega
Noriega Portrait.jpg 12 August 198320 December 1989 National Guard
(until 29 September 1983.)
Styled as Maximum Leader of the National Liberation from 15 December 1983.
Deposed in the US invasion.
Panamanian Defense Forces

Living former presidents

Aristides Royo President of Panama

Aristides Royo Sánchez was President of Panama from October 11, 1978 to July 31, 1982, when he was pressured to resign by the military.

Ricardo de la Espriella President of Panama

Ricardo de la Espriella Toral is a Panamanian politician who was the President of Panama from July 31, 1982 to February 13, 1984.

Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino President of Panama

Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino is a Panamanian politician, served as its President from October 11, 1984 to September 28, 1985, running as the candidate of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in the contested elections of 1984.


Invalid image map generated by EasyTimeline
List of heads of state of Panama

Latest election

Laurentino Cortizo Democratic Revolutionary Party 655,42833.35
Rómulo Roux Democratic Change 609,22331.00
Ricardo LombanaIndependent369,30318.79
José Blandón Panameñista Party 212,81210.83
Ana Matilde GómezIndependent93,6084.76
Saúl Méndez Broad Front for Democracy 13,5820.69
Marco Ameglio Independent11,3210.58
Invalid/blank votes48,782
Registered voters/turnout2,757,82373.03
Source: Election Tribunal

See also

Politics of Panama

The politics of Panama take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic with multi-party system, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government.

History of Panama Aspect of history

The history of Panama refers to the Isthmus of Panama region's long history that occurred in Central America, from Pre-Columbian cultures, during the Spanish colonial era, through independence and the current country of Panama.

Related Research Articles

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Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera, more commonly known as Omar Torrijos, was the Commander of the Panamanian National Guard and the de facto dictator of Panama from 1968 to 1981. Torrijos was never officially the president of Panama, but instead held titles including "Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution" and "Supreme Chief of Government." Torrijos took power in a coup d'état and instituted a number of social reforms and his regime was considered socialist.

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Democratic Revolutionary Party political party

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Peoples Party (Panama) Political party in Panama

The People's Party is a Panamanian Christian democratic political party. Beginning in 1956, as Social Democratic Action, it was made up of middle-class professionals, intellectuals and students, with support from trade unions, particularly the Federation of Christian Workers. It went on to become one of Latin America's most conservative and anti-communist Christian democratic parties. The ideological foundation of the party is based on the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. The PP is a full member of the Christian Democrat International and Christian Democratic Organization of America.

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The War of the Supremes was a civil conflict in Republic of the New Granada from 1839 to 1841 caused by the ambitions of various regional leaders (gamonales) to seize power and depose President José Ignacio de Márquez. It was called the War of the Supremos because of the participation of General José María Obando and other revolutionary gamonales who called themselves jefes supremos.

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The Panama held a presidential election on 11 October 1978, electing both a new President of the Republic.

Independence Act of Panama

The Declaration of Independence of Panama is the document through which Panama declared its independence from the Spanish Empire on 28 November 1821. It was proclaimed in the Cathedral plaza of Panama City after a council of leaders had met and drafted twelve points calling for severing Panama's relationship with the Spanish Crown and joining with the newly formed Republic of Gran Colombia.

Herrera is a surname of Spanish origin, from the Latin FERRĀRIA, meaning "iron mine" or "iron works" and also the feminine of Latin FERRĀRIUS, "of or pertaining to iron"; or, alternatively, the feminine of Spanish herrero, which also gives the surname Herrero. Variants of the name include Ferrera and the less common Bherrera. Its equivalent in Portuguese and Galician is Ferreira. Also because of Spanish naming customs, some people are listed here with their family name as their second-to-last name.


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