October 12, 2014 / 7:09 PM / 5 years ago

Panama salsa singer Ruben Blades mulls second run at presidency

Panamanian singer Ruben Blades addresses the audience during a conference on the second day of the 10th Jazz Festival in Panama City January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panamanian salsa star Ruben Blades said on Sunday he could be a candidate in Panama’s 2019 presidential election, which would mark his second attempt at the presidency.

The singer, 66, ran in the 1994 presidential election, backed by the movement ‘Papa Egoro,’ which means Mother Earth in an indigenous language. Blades lost that election to Ernesto Perez Valladares.

“If I’m healthy and I have a plan put together, I will run as an independent,” Blades said in an interview on a local television channel. “I’m not running with a party because their structures tie you down.”

Blades, who is also a lawyer with a masters degree from Harvard University, defines himself as “left-leaning” and identifies with the current president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, and the form of government that Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva developed in Brazil.

Between 2004 and 2009 Blades was tourism minister in the government of former president Martin Torrijos.

Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Eric Walsh

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