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The Republic of Panama was created in 1903 when it declared its independence from Colombia. The United States helped Panama in it's bid for independence by sending troops to protect US economic interests in the Canal, then under construction.

In 1904 Panama passed a Constitution as an independent state, modeled on the Colombian Constitution. The Constitution was rewritten in 1941, and again in 1972, following a military coup, and remains in its current form after several reforms in the intervening years.

Panama's government is structured as a representative democracy, with the president serving as both head of state and head of government, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez (born 12 December 1963) is a Panamanian politician who has been President of Panama since 2014. Previously he served Vice President of Panama from 2009 to 2014; he was also Minister of Foreign Relations from July 2009 to August 2011. He has been the President of the Panameñista Party, the third-largest in Panama, since 2006.

On 4 May 2014, Varela won the 2014 presidential election with over 39% of the votes, against the party of his former political partner Ricardo Martinelli, Cambio Democrático, and their candidate José Domingo Arias. He was sworn in on 1 July 2014.

The legislative branch consists of a National Assembly, whose members are also elected by popular vote to five-year terms. The judicial branch is separate from the executive and legislative branches of government, and consists of a Supreme Court of Justice, Tribunals and appointed judges.

President: Juan Carlos Varela
Isabel Saint Malo

Government Ministries:

The country is divided into ten provinces, three indigenous territories* and two territories**:

    • Bocas del Toro
    • Chiriqui
    • Cocle
    • Colon
    • Darien
    • Herrera
    • Los Santos
    • Panama
    • Veraguas
    • Panama Oeste
    • Guna Yala*
    • Emberá*
    • Ngöbe-Buglé*
    • Kuna de Madugandí**
    • Kuna de Wargandí**

Other Useful Links:
Lexadin: A database of Panamanian legislation (Spanish and English)
Asamblea Nacional: Official website of the National Assembly (Spanish)
República de Panamá: Official website of the Republic of Panama (Spanish)
Organo Judicial: Official website of the Judiciary Power (Spanish)