Friday 22nd September 2023.

September 21, 2023


The Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Commission of the National Assembly approved this Thursday, September 21, to withdraw bill 1031 that repealed the 2002 transparency law.

For this reason, the closure of the permanent session in which this legislative body was located was also declared since the proposal began to be debated, which was widely rejected by more than twenty professional organizations and unions.

This commission, chaired by deputy Leandro Ávila, received a letter from the Minister of the Presidency, José Simpson, in which he reported on the withdrawal of the initiative promoted by the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai).

A week ago, the Presidency of the Republic announced that President Laurentino Cortizo and his ministers agreed to withdraw Bill 1031.

The candidate for president of the Republic for the Other Path Movement (MOCA), Ricardo Lombana , announced today, Thursday, an alliance with Serena Vamvas, who will compete to be the next representative of the town of San Francisco, in the district of Panama.

Lombana described the independent candidate as a young woman, a fighter, an activist for the environment, and who, like him, firmly believes that “fighting” clientelism and corruption are essential elements to make Panama progress.

In the middle of a press conference, the president of MOCA stated what his objective is with this type of political alliances.

“Today I invite the residents of San Francisco, who for so many years have had the same figure and the same people without solving the real problems of their district, to vote for Serena who, like Edison Broce and Ernesto Cedeño, They support as independents, without having to join our party because we are not demanding that from anyone,” he said.

In Lombana’s words, his alliance is with all those citizens who are willing to “transform” the country. “We have decided to nominate Serena Vamvas as our candidate for representative of San Francisco. The country is not only transformed from the presidency, but also from local governments,” she pointed out.

For his part, Vamvas stressed that San Francisco has been abandoned for more than 20 years.

“The new generation of young people in politics come without fear and without relaxation. Politics is made to serve and not to serve one’s pockets,” she said.

Previously, Lombana announced an alliance with Broce, who will run as a candidate for Mayor of Panama, and Ernesto Cedeño, as a deputy for circuit 8-4 in the district of Panama.

A new citizen protest took place this Thursday, September 21, on the grounds of the National Assembly in rejection of the mining contract that is being debated in the National Assembly. “No to the mining contract,” is chanted in this place.

Construction workers, laborers, among others, participated in the protest.

“Panamanian, say no to the mine and yes to life” reads one of the banners.

Earlier, members of the Single Union of Construction and Similar Workers partially closed the coastal strip for this same issue.

Flyers were also distributed on Balboa Avenue and Centenario Street expressing their opposition to the aforementioned project that is in the Assembly’s Commerce and Economic Affairs Commission.

According to the workers, the mobilizations will continue until the project is withdrawn from debate.

At the end of August, discussion of the project began in the Assembly, amid protests from various organizations in the country that reject mining.

The legislative proposal that seeks to modify the Electoral Code to guarantee political parties the possibility of nominating more candidates by residue (R) in alliances, has the blessing of the National Executive Committee (CEN) of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) .

The proposal has not only been defended by Ricardo Torres , fourth undersecretary of the CEN and first vice president of the Assembly. The initiative also has the applause of Benicio Robinson , president of the PRD and the third undersecretary, deputy Raúl Pineda .

“At the last minute the [Electoral] Court wanted by decree to legislate against the parties and I believe that we have the right, as deputies, to propose laws,” said Robinson, who also argued: “all we want is that we play the same rule of the game that was played last time. Absolutely nothing is being altered.”

Only Crispiano Adames , another CEN member, would be against the proposal. “That’s a pretty sensitive topic. I believe that there should be no electoral reforms at this time. However, I also call on the Electoral Court to issue its considerations through the Council of Political Parties (…)”, he stated.

Since its birth, draft law 115 was already known by the CEN. Last June, in a meeting in which members of the National Board of Directors of the PRD and the CEN participated , Robinson made it clear that everything that is discussed in the Assembly, before being approved, must first go through the CEN. It was the same meeting in which the president of the PRD ordered his colleagues to vote for deputy Jaime Vargas for president of the Assembly.

“The issue was discussed in the Council of Political Parties, but we did not know that the PRD was going to present a draft bill,” said a source from the council, who requested that his name be withheld.

The Electoral Code says that, in multi-member circuits, parties that are in alliance may nominate up to one candidate for deputy in common. One. That it would go on the ballot twice.

However, if the draft is approved, it seeks to have up to two candidates run in the alliance. That is, two Rs would be allowed per party , allowing two candidates from the same alliance to use the same votes twice.

Representatives of organized civil society, candidates for free nomination and other political parties have expressed their opposition to the document. Among them, the candidate for deputy for the free nomination Ana Matilde Gómez , Rómulo Roux and José Isabel Blandón.

The Plenary Session of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) ordered all its departments to deliver the pertinent information to the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office in order to be able to make accusations against voters who do not reside in the town of San Felipe and appear in the Electoral Registry for the elections. elections of May 5, 2024.

In addition, he warned that those involved in malicious change of residence may face sentences of six to twelve months in prison.

During a meeting held on the morning of this Thursday, September 21, between the TE magistrates, Alfredo Juncá, Eduardo Valdés Escofery, Luis Guerra Morales and the electoral prosecutor Dilio Arcia, the decision was made to accumulate the complaints presented by the lawyers Octavio Del Moral and Daniel Lombana, on the existence of distortions regarding the number of people authorized to vote in the town of San Felipe that appear in the Electoral Register and the figures obtained by the XII Census of Population and Housing.

A press release issued jointly by the TE and the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office details that people involved in the crimes of malicious change of residence, such as making false statements, can face sentences of six to twelve months in prison, fines, the suspension of their political rights and the disqualification from the exercise of public functions for the same term as the main sanction.

An investigation by the newspaper La Prensa revealed that according to the Electoral Registry in the town of San Felipe there are 3,900 inhabitants, but the XII Census of Population and Housing revealed that its population is 1,258 people. There are 957 adults of legal age. Of that total, 27%, or 258 people, are foreigners.

The figures reveal that in San Felipe there are only 692 citizens eligible to vote in the elections. Consequently, 5 times more voters appear on the Electoral Roll.

The electoral prosecutor Dilio Arcia had asked the TE magistrates for the possibility of carrying out an electoral census in that district to determine the exact number of voters.

The price of low-sulfur diesel will increase starting this Friday, September 22, announced the Ministry of Energy.

A liter of diesel will increase by 4 cents and will be sold for $1.10. Meanwhile, 95 octane and 91 octane gasoline will maintain their prices.

The 95 octane one sells for $1.16 per liter, while the 91 octane one sells for $1.09 per liter.

The Ministry of Energy recalled that diesel and 91 octane gasoline are sold with a subsidy. A gallon of both fuels sells for $3.25.

According to the entity, with this subsidy the consumer saves 88 cents per gallon on 91-cent gasoline and 92 cents on diesel.

The 95 octane one is not under this subsidy, which was extended until October 15.


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