Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Panama's president-elect, Laurentino Cortizo. Photo: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Panama's voters decided to stick with known quantities in Sunday's presidential election, choosing Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo to succeed term-limited incumbent Juan Carlos Varela.

The big picture: Panama's voters were closely divided between two former cabinet ministers from the traditional political parties, bucking a regional trend toward populist political outsiders who have brought fresh if at times unpredictable leadership to countries as diverse as Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador.

Details: Cortizo, a former agriculture minister from the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), prevailed by 33% to 31% over former foreign minister and Panama Canal Authority chairman Romulo Roux of the center-right Democratic Change Party (CD).

  • Roux was closely aligned with former President Ricardo Martinelli, who is currently in jail awaiting trial for charges of spying on his political opponents while in office.

Where it stands: When he takes office on July 1, Cortizo will reach the apex of a long political career that includes a decade in the National Assembly, a 2-year turn as agriculture minister under President Martín Torrijos, and an unsuccessful presidential run in 2008. Prior to this year’s campaign, Cortizo spent most of the past decade focusing on his livestock and construction businesses.

  • Known as a fastidious cattle rancher, Cortizo has vowed to fight corruption, improve health services, reform the education system and build a new University of Panama campus.
  • Another top agenda item will be reigniting economic growth, which exceeded 10% earlier in the decade but reached only 3.8% last year.

What to watch: Cortizo has pledged to strengthen Panama's relationship with the U.S. while balancing its ties to China.

  • The Varela government officially recognized China instead of Taiwan in June 2017, and President Xi Jinping signed 19 economic cooperation agreements with Panama during a visit last December.
  • The Trump administration views the Panama Canal as a key strategic gateway and has expressed concern about China's growing role in building infrastructure throughout Central America.

The bottom line: In a region bedeviled by populist upswells from both the right and the left — coupled with unrest in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti — Panama's government is unlikely to make waves under Cortizo. Instead, this key U.S. ally and free trade partner will combine a business-friendly outlook with a pragmatic foreign policy to remain a stable partner in a tumultuous neighborhood.

Daniel P. Erikson is managing director at Blue Star Strategies and a senior fellow at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

Go deeper

Biden's two-step negotiating process

President Biden departs Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/Pool/AFP via Getty

President Biden's summit "reset" was less about trying to make a friend out of Russia than reframing what the U.S. believes can be accomplished by engaging with President Vladimir Putin.

Driving the news: The Geneva meeting yielded no immediate breakthroughs beyond agreements about ambassadors returning to work and plans to launch talks on nuclear security. But in classic Biden fashion — aviators on, jacket off and a one-liner about invading Russia he had to clarify was a joke — the U.S. president used a post-summit news conference to explain his approach.

Scoop: NRCC to accept cryptocurrency donations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Republicans' House campaign arm will begin accepting contributions in cryptocurrency, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The National Republican Congressional Committee is the first national party committee to solicit crypto donations. That puts it at the forefront of a disruptive financial technology that could test campaign finance rules.

By the numbers: Federal holiday adoption dates

Data: FederalPay; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

In the 244-year history of the United States, the government has created 10 federal holidays. Juneteenth — to be marked on June 19 — will become No. 11.

Why it matters: It's not clear how all Americans will come to commemorate a day celebrating the formal end of slavery in the U.S., but it will come with all the trappings of the others: a day off for federal employees, and a potential close of businesses.