The government on Friday declared the campaign season open for general elections to be held May 7 of next year and said the ballot will not be affected by strained diplomatic relations with the United States.

A president and two vice presidents will be elected by a simple majority of votes in May, to serve five-year terms beginning June 7.Elections for the legislative National Assembly and local offices will be held June 4.

The Electoral Tribunal said in a communique the campaign schedule will be respected despite Panama's political and economic crises.