Cortizo declares victory in tight Panama presidential race

Presidential candidate Laurentino Cortizo, of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), gestures as he leaves after casting his vote at the polling station during the general election in Panama City, Panama May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo said he won the presidency in Panama’s election on Sunday, declaring victory after an unexpectedly tight race that put him less than two points ahead of Romulo Roux, who has not conceded defeat.

The former agriculture minister of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party had nearly 33 percent of the vote with more than 93 percent of votes counted, the election tribunal said.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Elida Moreno, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel