Panama's governing party has chosen President Ricardo Martinelli's wife as its vice presidential nominee for the May 4 elections.

First lady Marta Linares will be running with Democratic Change presidential hopeful Jose Domingo Arias, who leads in opinion polls. Arias made the announcement Wednesday, saying Linares' nomination will give continuity to Martinelli's policies.

Martinelli's five-year term ends July 1 and the constitution prevents him from seeking re-election.

Martinelli won the presidency in 2009 as the Democratic Change party's candidate and had the backing of two other parties. That alliance broke up in 2011, and current Vice President Juan Carlos Varela is one of the main opposition candidates for the presidency.