Panama has a new President -- 38 year old former Education Minister, Dr. Aristides Royo.?
GV Crowd and newsmen gathering in Gimnasio Nuevo, Panama, for ceremony
SV Former Chief of Government, Brigadier General Omar Torrijos and officials arrive
SV President Aristides Royo sitting with officials and waving to crowd
SCU Outgoing President Demetrio Lakas addressing crowd in Spanish (2 shots)
SV Lakas hugged by Torrijos and other officials
SV Royo raises hand as he is sworn in and is presented with sash
GV Crowd applauding
CU Royo speaking to crowd in Spanish
After the U.S. Senate ratified the Panama Canal treaties in April, General Torrijos lifted the 10 years old ban on all political parties. He also allowed the return of political exiles, including Arnulfo Arias, the president he toppled from power on 11 October, 1968. The National Assembly is due to consider constitutional reforms, under which presidential candidates would be elected by popular vote in 1984.
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Background: Panama has a new President -- 38 year old former Education Minister, Dr. Aristides Royo. He takes over from the former Chief of Government, Brigadier General Omar Torrijos, who now commands Panama's National Guard.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of people crowded into the Gimnasio Neuvo, Panama for the inauguration ceremony on Thursday (12 October).
One of the first to arrive was General Torrijos, who had hand-picked President Royo as his successor.
Earlier, out-going President, Demetrio Lakas, announced he would not seek an extension of his term in office. His largely ceremonial duties will also be taken over by Dr. Royo.
General Torrijos' choice of Dr. Royo as the new President was endorsed on Wednesday (11 October) by Panama's National Assembly -- by a vote of 452 to only 53 against. But General Torrijos is expected to have the final say, as he is Commander of the National Guard -- Panama's only armed force. It was the National Guard that brought him to power in a coup exactly 10 years ago. General Torrijos and senior National Guard officers have sworn allegiance to the new president.
Dr. Royo was a leading member of the negotiating team that concluded the Panama Canal Treaties with the United States this year.
He is known as a moderate and has been a close friend and advisor of General Torrijos.