Friday 7th June 2024.

June 6, 2024


The elected president of Panama, José Raúl Mulino, continues his meetings with the groups that will make up the next National Assembly, which will begin meeting next July.

This Thursday, June 6, 2024, Mulino met with the deputies elected by the Panameñista Party, including José Luis Popi Varela. The meeting lasted about two hours.

Upon leaving the meeting, the president described the meeting as “very good.” “I have asked them to look at the projects that have to do with national development, specifically and soon, the issues related to the Social Security Fund (CSS) that will require a consensus that we will build little by little. “No one is going to push anything hastily, but little by little with the country (…),” Mulino said.

Leaving breakfast, Mulino also took the opportunity to talk about the recurring blackouts across the country.

“The people are very tired of the nationwide blackouts,” said Mulino. “I have been reporting for years every time the power goes out on my property and every time the power goes out on the beach on weekends, outside of weekdays when it goes out for hours. It’s already good.”

He added that yesterday he spoke with the person who will be in charge of the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP), so that he can “put order” in all the companies that provide public services.

This is the second meeting that Mulino has this week at the JW Marriott hotel with elected representatives of the Assembly that will be installed on July 1.

On Wednesday, June 5, Mulino met with eight elected deputies from the Democratic Change (CD) party. The incoming president has said that next week he will meet with the elected deputies of the Other Path Movement (Moca) and those of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). He also plans to meet with the parties that obtained fewer elected deputies, such as the Popular Party (PP), Mulino said.

Mulino has already held meetings with deputies from his Realizing Goals (RM) party and the Vamos Coalition.

The designated Minister of Public Works , José Luis Andrade, held the first transition meeting with the outgoing minister, Rafael Sabonge, at the main headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), in the Albrook sector.

The execution and advancement of various projects dominated the agenda. The designated minister would be reviewing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the fourth bridge project over the Panama Canal and road maintenance.

Andrade also stated that there is a list of projects that he will seek to promote; more than all “tourist routes”. He indicated, for example, that he would make improvements on the Café route, in Chiriquí, and on the El Valle highway, in Antón.

For his part, Sabonge indicated that topics such as the budgetary needs of the MOP and the progress of the projects were addressed.

The outgoing MOP minister explained that there are projects that have been carried out, but that do not have sufficient resources. This is an amount of $320 million of contracts that do not have sufficient resources.

Sabonge did not specify what these projects would be, but state contractors, especially those in charge of infrastructure works, frequently complain about the swelling of accounts payable and the non-acceptance of work progress reports, which is a determining factor to be able to collect.

On the other hand, Sabonge highlighted the projects that have made the greatest progress, such as the expansion of the Pan-American Highway to six lanes and the expansion of the highway from the Bridge of the Americas to Arraiján to eight lanes, which is in its final phase. He added that the road improvement project also registers important progress, since during this presidential period more than 2 thousand kilometers of new roads and rehabilitation of existing roads were contracted.

Among the new directors who will be participating in the transition meetings are Iván De Icaza, vice minister of Public Works; Juan Ramón Abad who will be National Director of Inspection; Martha Alemán, National Director of Contracts; Edgar Hernández, firm advisor and Ricardo Enrique Icaza, Legal advisor of the Firm.

The elected president of the Republic, José Raúl Mulino , appointed this Thursday, June 6, 2024, Adolfo José Fábrega as the next general administrator of the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG).

Fábrega was recently in charge of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (2023-2024) and it is highlighted that he has experience in the technological and software areas.

Graduated in information systems engineering from the University of Notre Dame, United States, Fábrega has nearly 20 years of experience and also participated in executive programs at Incae and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Fábrega has been a member of the National Commission of Science, Technology and Innovation of the National Secretariat of Science and Technology (Senacyt), he is also founder of Global Marine Group and professor of technology at the University of the Istmo.

Furthermore, in 2010 he was appointed advisor by the United Nations Development Program in the National Technology Directorate of the AIG.

This is the second former president of the Cciap that Mulino has appointed to the new government, which takes office on July 1. Jose Ramón Icaza also joined the team of the incoming administration as secretary of goals and minister of Canal Affairs.

Óscar Vallarino has been appointed as vice minister of the Environment, the office of the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, announced through his X account. Vallarino will accompany the designated minister, Juan Carlos Navarro, in that portfolio.

From 2012 to 2018, Vallarino served as Vice President of Corporate Affairs at the Panama Canal Authority ACP.

From October 2018 to October 2019, he served as vice president of Corporate Affairs and Communication at the ACP.

He also served as executive manager of the Environment Division and as secretary of the Interinstitutional Commission of the Panama Canal Hydrographic Basin (CICH) from 2000 to 2012.

He has held the position of executive director of the National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON) and has been a member of the boards of directors of various organizations, including the Natura Foundation, Fupasa, Friends of the Harpy Eagle Board of Trustees.

Vallarino holds a Master of Science from the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom; a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Nicholls State University, Louisiana United States; a diploma in Business Administration from the Central American Institute of Business Administration (ICANE) and a Diploma in Reputation Management from the Institute of Higher Studies in Administration (IESA).

With 25 days until July 1, the day on which the National Assembly will be installed for the period 2024-2029 and José Raúl Mulino will assume the presidency of the Republic, the electoral courts have pending to resolve four challenges that affect at least 13 elected deputies.

Six of those deputies are part of the independent Vamos bench: Eduardo Gaitán, Luis Duke , Alexandra Brenes and Yarelis Rodríguez were elected in the 8-2, San Miguelito, but were challenged by PRD member José Ruiloba Pineda, nephew of deputy Raúl Pineda.

While Roberto Zuñiga and Jorge Bloise , from 8-4, were challenged by Alejandro Pérez, from the Realizing Goals (RM) party . Pérez’s lawsuit also affects two elected deputies from the Other Path Movement (MOCA): Grace Hernández and Ernesto Cedeño , as well as Javier Sucre , from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

“Today I went to see the file of the case of the challenge of the deputies of 8-4, which was, I believe, the first that was presented in the electoral jurisdiction and at least the folder has a number. No. 29. I hope the administrative electoral court 1 resolves it before the year 2050,” lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, one of those affected, wrote yesterday Wednesday.

The challenges of Ruiloba Pineda and Pérez have several similarities: they posted the $25,000 bail in cash and affect eight independent and MOCA deputies, groups that could join forces to reach the most coveted position in the Assembly: the presidency, a position that He is in the crosshairs of the RM party, a group founded by former president Ricardo Martinelli .

RM has three contested deputies: Lilia Batista and Yuzaida Marín , in 13-4, La Chorrera. While Luis Omar Ortega , from 8-2 San Miguelito, was challenged by Zulay Rodríguez.

Patsy Lee , of the Popular Party, is another of those contested in the 13-4

This Thursday, June 6, 2024, the UN General Assembly elected Panama as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the 2025-2026 biennium.

The Panamanian candidacy, which will replace that of Ecuador and came without opposition in the group of Latin America and the Caribbean, received the support of 183 of the 193 member states of the United Nations.

In addition to Panama, the General Assembly approved the non-permanent memberships in the Security Council of Denmark and Greece (both from the group relating to Western Europe and others), as well as Somalia (Africa) and Pakistan (Asia-Pacific). Denmark obtained 184 votes in favor; Greece, 182; Somalia, 179 and Pakistan received 182 in this vote that is carried out by secret ballot.

The countries that still have one more year of mandate are Guyana, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Korea and Slovenia.

Along with the ten rotating seats, the Security Council is always made up of five permanent members, who also have veto power: the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

Both the right of veto and the distribution of seats – with over-representation of Europe, which has five seats in total – are increasingly questioned, but any project to reform the Council, whether regarding its composition or its functioning, has come up against the refusal of the five permanent members, who refuse to lose their privilege.

In recent years, the right of veto – and its use by Russia in the case of the Ukraine war and by the United States in the Gaza war – has turned the Security Council into an almost inoperative body, since resolutions are vetoed or are not carried out.

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