Geography & government

The Republic of Panama is situated in Central America, at the narrowest part of the isthmus, and lies between Costa Rica (to the northwest) and Colombia (to the southeast).

Panama has an area of approximately 77,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) and an estimated population of 3.4 million.

Climate is tropical with heavy rains. The dry season runs from mid-December through the end of April; the rest of the year is rainy.

Panama is a Republic with a democratic system of government. The President, as Chief Executive, is elected by direct vote for a five-year term, concurrently with the members of the National Assembly, a unicameral parliament. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches function independently.