Flores leads in early returns for rector

Physicist Eduardo Flores Castro on the campaign trail in Chitre, where early returns show that he won.

With just 10% of the vote in, Flores seems to be the next U of P rector

by Eric Jackson, from other media

Physics professor and former Sciences Faculty dean Eduardo Flores Castro appears to have routed the ruling political machine at the University of Panama. Early returns — only about 10 percent of the vote — have Flores carrying just a bit more than 60 percent in a six-way race, with the next highest vote-getter, VP for Academic Affairs Justo Medrano, garnering just under 28 percent. The percentage that Flores is winning is much like what he got when challenging scandal-tainted Gustavo García de Paredes five years ago, but this time the machine with which the self-proclaimed “Rector Magnifico” ruled the university for a generation appears to have fragmented in the face of multiple criminal investigations and international scorn for the institution’s academic qualities as well as Panamanian education as a whole. One of Flores’s opponents, Dr. Argentina Ying, has already conceded victory to the dissident physics prof.

Final results will not be in until about noon on Thursday, and there will also be results to tally for 15 faculty deans and the directors of nine regional university centers. Those races down the ticket could determine whether a new rector will start out with a team with which he can work or in the face of sullen opposition. Although the campaign was by and large an anti-intellectual bandwagon, insults and pass out the goodies affair like the run-ups to recent national elections, there was a general sense that the university could not continue operating as it has been. If Flores is confirmed as the winner he will come into office having made few hard-and-fast promises, but with expectations that the nomenklatura of the old machine will be scattered rather than confirmed in their positions.


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