Monday 20th March 2023.

March 20, 2023


The National Commission of Internal Elections of Democratic Change (CD) announced on the afternoon of Sunday, March 19, that it was decided to annul in its entirety the elections in the corregimientos of El Cacao, Villa Rosario and Camarón Arriba, in the district of Capira, province of Panama Oeste.

Similarly, it was decided to annul the conventional elections in the corregimientos of Chilibre, Caimitillo and 24 de Diciembre, in the province of Panama, and San Martín in Las Palmas, Veraguas.

In a statement, the CD Elections Commission reported that in some places polling stations did not open at 7:00 a.m., as planned. In addition, at 11:45 a.m. they had not opened, as occurred in the three corregimientos of Capira.

It is also explained that in the corregimientos of Chilibre, 24 de Diciembre and Caimitillo there were candidates who were not put on the ballots.

Until 2:00 p.m. there was about 28% participation in the internal elections of this group.

The CD renews this Sunday, March 19, its conventionals in an internal election marked by the struggle between two factions that dispute control of the party and amid alleged irregularities.

At about 7:00 a.m. the 935 polling stations opened in the 751 voting centers enabled in various provinces of the country. An hour and a half later, the president of the political organization, Rómulo Roux, went to vote at the Elena Chávez de Pinate school, in Juan Díaz.

“We have been reported some ballots where the order of the conventional payrolls do not coincide with the publications that were made in the bulletin,” denounced Roux, who was accompanied by followers.

In Capira, province of Panama Oeste, the deputy and general secretary of CD, Yanibel Ábrego, arrived at about 10:00 a.m. accompanied by former President Ricardo Martinelli, president of the party Realizing Goals (RM).

According to Ábrego, he was not allowed to have table juries. “There are only the Electoral Tribunal and the other side,” he denounced.

Ábrego, a loyal follower of former President Ricardo Martinelli, is vying for control of Roux’s party. Therefore, these inmates are considered a struggle between both Roux noted that this is a choice “between those who want one party to govern one country and the others.”

He affirmed that he is sure that Ana Giselle Rosas, candidate for the Women’s Secretariat, will win, as well as her other candidates.

When asked about the presidential aspirations of former President Martín Torrijos, Roux responded that they are open to exchanging ideas, but in alliance Democratic Change will always be in the lead.

The risk rating agency Fitch Ratings raised doubts about the Government’s ability to meet the deficit targets established by the Fiscal Social Responsibility Law for this and the coming years.

In 2020, following the economic impact caused by the restrictions imposed in the pandemic, the Government substantially raised the deficit limit allowed by law to make room for increased spending and the sharp drop in revenues. In that same legal reform, a trajectory of deficit reduction, which is also known as fiscal consolidation, was reflected.

Thus, from a limit of 10.5% in 2020, it would gradually be lowered to 7.5% in 2021, 4% in 2022, 3% in 2023, 2% in 2024 and 1.5% from 2025 onwards. The increase in the deficit in recent years reflects the rise in public debt levels, and with the reduction of the deficit it is sought that the rate of indebtedness is reduced.

Fitch has pointed out that, without a clear consolidation strategy, it will be a challenge to meet increasingly restrictive deficit targets.

The government must reduce the fiscal deficit to comply with the guidelines of the Fiscal Social Responsibility Law, but the main component of public spending, which is destined to cover the operations of the state apparatus and the interest on the debt, does not yield.

Nancy Abigaíl Góngora Guerrel, sentimental partner of the extradited Rubén Camargo Clarke (alias Cholo Chorrillo), indicated by the authorities as the leader of the Bagdag gang, was charged by the Drug Prosecutor’s Office as an alleged front man for that organization.

During a hearing held last Friday, March 17, the judge of guarantees, Diana García, charged him with the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering and ordered his immediate preventive detention.

The judge alleged that the accused, who was extradited last Thursday from Costa Rica (where she resided, like Cholo Chorrillo), never appeared personally to the process against her, opened since 2021, when the authorities, through the Neptune operation, arrested 21 members of the network led by Camargo.

The judge also dismissed a motion by her defense attorney to grant her a home deposit measure to breastfeed her daughter, who was born six months ago. The girl’s father is Camargo. The judge decided that the woman remain detained due to the seriousness of the crime she is accused of and considering, in addition, that it is the safest thing for the baby.

Meanwhile, Drug Prosecutor Gleecy Hernández alleged that Góngora was part of the scheme used by the network led by his partner to launder money from the sale of drugs, through the purchase of real estate, such as a residence in Eco Gardens, in the district of Arraiján, and the opening of “front” businesses.

The prosecution cited a report from the Judicial Investigation Directorate in which it is established that the accused maintained two businesses (including a courier company) used to launder and even handle money remittances.

This investigation began in 2017 and the authorities have information that the network introduced drugs into the country from Colombia, through El Chorrillo, Boca La Caja, Panama Oeste and the island of San Miguel. In addition, its members were linked to several homicides.

The Government of Panama expressed on Sunday its solidarity with Ecuador for the earthquake of magnitude 6.5 registered last Saturday, which left 14 dead and 446 injured, while lamenting the “loss of lives”.

“Our solidarity with the brotherly People and Government of Ecuador after the strong earthquake registered today. We regret the loss of life caused by the event. Our diplomatic representatives in Ecuador remain in contact with Panamanians residing in that country,” the Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 on the open Richter scale struck last Saturday in a coastal area of Ecuador, leaving at least 14 dead and 446 injured, according to the latest official information. The strong earthquake was also felt in northern Peru, where a four-year-old girl died.

Ecuador has reported at least 180 homes affected, 84 destroyed, 80 educational units affected, as well as 22 public property, 32 private property, 33 health centers and one private property destroyed, as well as five bridges.

Among the effects on infrastructure, the collapse of facades, glass breakage and cracks in walls, among others, were reported.

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported that so far this year 2023, 958 cases of dengue have been confirmed nationwide.

According to the epidemiological report of the Minsa, of that figure, 841 cases were without alarm signs, 113 with alarm signs and 4 serious cases. To date, no deaths have been reported.

It is detailed that the areas with the most positive cases are: Colón (182); Panama metro (177); Panama West (118); North Panama (111); San Miguelito (110); Bocas del Toro (69); Herrera and Los Santos with 57 cases.

The health authorities reiterated the call to the population to maintain cleanliness in homes and work environments, check the meshes of doors and windows. In the same way, it is recommended to check under the sinks, since they are places where there may be breeding sites of the transmitting mosquito (Aedes aegypti).

On the other hand, the report on the hanta virus registers eight cases so far (seven alive and one death registered in the province of Herrera).

Of the seven cases, six were diagnosed with hanta virus cardiopulmonary syndrome and one with hanta virus fever.

Four of the eight confirmed cases of hantavirus were reported in Herrera. In Los Santos and Cocle, two were reported in each province, the entity said in a statement.


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