Panama: Boxing Commentator's Presidential Aspirations

In Panama, the media has already started speculating about potential candidates and winners, despite there being two years to go until the next elections. The different parties are starting to sound out voters in the middle of some electoral reforms that would implement a run-off vote.

One potential nomination for president which caused the most commotion in the Panamanian cyberspace was that of the well-known sports commentator Juan Carlos Tapia [es].

Tapia hosts a boxing programme at 9pm on Thursdays. He always dedicates the first few minutes of his show to criticising and reflecting on political topics, which in many cases have caused a negative response but also garnered support from viewers. It is one of the most popular television programmes in Panama and because of this, reactions to Tapia's potential candidature did not take long to appear.

Anyélica Canto's (@AnyelicaCanto) excitement is clear:

Si Juan Carlos Tapia se lanza como candidato a presidente por el partido independiente.. WoW!!!!!!! Que belleza.. =D

If Juan Carlos Tapia is nominated as the independent party's presidential candidate.. WoW!!!!!!! How exciting.. =D

Kenny Mojica S. (@kenny_rubensito) tweeted that he's prepared to accept Tapia as a presidential candidate

#MICANDIDATO Tengo tres candidatos por los cuales votar para las próximas elecciones: Juan Carlos Tapia, Juan Carlos Navarro y Genaro López

#MICANDIDATO I have three candidates to vote for in the next elections: Juan Carlos Tapia, Juan Carlos Navarro and Genaro López

Panamanian blogger, Leslie Martínez, writes her opinion on the matter on her blog Bla bla bla de una panameña [es]:

De hecho, considero que entre el perrito faldero de Martinelli, mejor conocido como Varela y cualquier marioneta que ponga cambio democrático para candidato, siempre y años luz, Juan Carlos Tapia es la alternativa menos peligrosa

In fact, I think that between Martinelli's little lapdog, more commonly known as Varela and whatever puppet that [the political party] Democratic Change puts as a candidate, Juan Carlos Tapia is definitely the least dangerous alternative

In contrast, Camilo Amado (@cjamado), reveals his doubts regarding the presenter's integrity:

Mi impresión de Juan Carlos Tapia 1. Dueño unico de la verdad. 2. Es mas falso que un Billete de 3 dolares.

My impression of Juan Carlos Tapia 1. He thinks his word is gospel. 2. He is unbelievably false.

Katherine J.R.P.  (@Johanrp) mentions the presenter's predilection for boxing as a reason not to vote for him:

ni loca votaría por juan carlos tapia…. dios te imaginas !!!! todas las leyes se discutirían en un ring a 12 asaltos O_o

not even a madman would vote for juan carlos tapia…. my god, could you imagine !!!! all laws would be debated through 12 rounds in the ring O_o

Olga Reyna (@olguitaReyna) is also outraged at the potential presidential candidate because she does not believe he has done anything to deserve the position:

EN notas politicas Jamas votaria por Juan Carlos Tapia, habla habla y habla, es todo lo que hace! Nunca ho le histo hacer nada! solo hablar

Politics: I would never vote for Juan Carlos Tapia, he talks talks and talks – that's all he does! I've never seen him do anything other than talk!

The presenter is only one of many candidates who have already started to appear, a trend which is quite alarming if it signals the start of a two-year-long presidential campaign. Panamanians seem cautious and are anticipating a new political figure.

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