Monday 27th May 2024.

May 26, 2024


Highlighting the clear and forceful message of the electoral results of last May 5, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) asks the Electoral Tribunal (TE) to promptly resolve the challenges presented against the election of deputies.

In its weekly letter to the country, the Cciap highlights that with the installation of the new National Assembly on July 1, legal action by the TE is imperative to promptly address these challenges, so that the new period begins respecting the popular will rigorously.

The Cciap emphasizes that these challenges must be presented in a timely manner and be attended to both with the speed that the regulations establish and respecting the will of the citizens in the past elections.

“It is essential to avoid suspicions with the mandate of citizen will, we must prevent some challenges to results in the elections for deputies from being perceived as being, with the interest of ensuring a parliamentary majority or for the selection of the board of directors of the National Assembly ”warns the Chamber of Commerce.

The business union highlights that the electoral results in the Legislative Body, where only 13 of 71 deputies were re-elected, send a message that Panamanians want a change of substance and form; that things are done differently. Furthermore, these results showed support for the values ​​of respect, an agenda of renewal, transparency and citizen attention.

“The TE must ensure – as it has traditionally done – that each vote is respected and that each challenge is resolved with the promptness and impartiality that the moment demands,” the document states.

The most recent challenge that was presented against the election of deputies was made by the former candidate for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Eliécer Montenegro, in the 13-4 circuit of La Chorrera, in Panama Oeste.

This challenge would join that of Alejandro Pérez, candidate for deputy for the RM party, who filed a lawsuit to annul the election and the proclamation of the elected deputies in the 8-4 circuit.

The Electoral Prosecutor’s Office also challenged ex officio the deputy for circuit 8-6 of RM, Alaín Cedeño, and this Thursday Ubaldo Vallejos, former candidate for circuit 1-1 of Bocas del Toro, did the same with Benicio Robinson, deputy of the PRD.

In Panama, any candidate, political party or electoral administrative prosecutor can challenge an election or proclamation through a claim for annulment.

This process requires the presentation of documents with evidence and the payment of a bond, the amount of which can be up to $50,000, depending on the charge. In the case of a deputy, it is $25,000.

The decision of the Supreme Court of Justice to grant protection of constitutional guarantees to the director of the National Decentralization Authority (AND ), Edward Mosley Ibarra , was described as a “blow to accountability” and even a “contradictory ruling.” , to prevent the Administration’s attorney, Rigoberto González, from investigating the alleged diversions of millionaire funds to community boards controlled by members of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

The plenary session adopted this decision on October 2, 2023, but it was communicated on the afternoon of this Friday, May 24, almost eight months later. This resolution closes the proceedings of Attorney General González to investigate the whereabouts of the funds assigned to decentralization.

Judges Ariadne García (speaker), María Eugenia López Arias (president of the Court), Carlos Vásquez , Cecilio Cedalise , María Cristina Chen Stanziola and Miriam Cheng voted in favor . Three magistrates saved the vote: Olmedo Arrocha, Ángela Russo and Maribel Cornejo.

The magistrates agreed with Ibarra that Attorney General González “lacks the competence” to manage or initiate preliminary investigations and demand explanatory reports on complaints and allegations against public officials.

For example, among their arguments, the jurists indicated that the procedure followed against the protectionist, that is, Ibarra, was carried out outside of what was contained in the law, when an investigation was opened by “an authority that is not competent”, in this case González. .

In that sense, the ruling, under the presentation of Judge Ariadne García, maintains that González was not competent to hear said complaint, since Law No. 9 of June 20, 1994, which regulates the disciplinary regime of public servants, specifies that It is up to the appointing authority to impose sanctions on officials.

All of this arises after an administrative complaint filed by the lawyer and elected representative, Ernesto Cedeño , to investigate the conduct of the officials who made the use of said funds viable, especially at times when political campaigns are being carried out.

For Cedeño, who filed the administrative complaint, what was decided by the CSJ is a “certain blow” to accountability in Panama.

“There has been no way for the authorities to be accountable to the country for the management of public funds in the matter in question,” he said.

In the words of Cedeño, the Court “contradicted itself” with other jurisprudence that it had issued regarding the functions of the attorney. “Excerpts of the votes were included in the vote rescues. Incomprehensible to me. There will be zero accountability,” he concluded.

The representative elected for the 9-1 circuit (Santiago), Janine Prado , has been named as the new head of the Vamos coalition, which takes office on July 1 in the National Assembly . As deputy chief, she will be accompanied by Luis Duke , representative of circuit 8-2 (San Miguelito).

Prado expressed his gratitude and determination in the face of the new challenge. “I feel very grateful to my colleagues on the bench for their trust in this new challenge that I assume with great responsibility. Our main vision is to transform the National Assembly and work on a legislative agenda in favor of the country,” she stated.

For his part, Duke stressed the importance of collaborative work within the group.

“Teamwork, consensus and communication are fundamental tools for what is coming this year for the independent group Vamos and they are the bases and tools that we commit to always working to give the best to the country,” he said.

The National Police reported that so far in 2024 they have seized at least 5,000 packages with drugs hidden in containers on boats in different ports.

This year, 27 operations against drug trafficking have been carried out in different ports and to date 5,246 packages with cocaine have been seized, said Police Commissioner Adolfo Pérez.

According to the authorities’ report, among the modalities used by drug traffickers to hide drugs are suitcases, bags, air conditioning panels and containers with double bottoms.

The countries of origin of the shipments are Panama, the United States, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador and Germany.

Regarding the destination nations for illicit substances, there are Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, India, France, Canada, Italy and Germany.

If the projections of the current administration of the Tocumen International Airport come true, this year the country’s main air terminal would receive 19 million passengers. This would represent a growth of 6% compared to the traveler movement reported in 2023, when 17.8 million people passed through.

With the start-up of the new passenger terminal (T2), Tocumen added 20 new boarding gates, reaching a total of 54. With this infrastructure, Tocumen has the capacity to handle 25 million people per year. If the current trend continues, with a growth of 1.2 million passengers per year, the airport would reach its maximum capacity by 2029.

Raffoul Arab, manager of Tocumen SA, indicated that the airport has a five-year window to decide what the next step will be to increase capacity. Among the options are expanding T2 or starting the construction of a third terminal, as contemplated in the Tocumen master plan.

Arab points out that it will be up to the next administration to update the master plan, a document that is currently designed with a vision until the year 2035. According to the document, by this date the airport should already be in the process of constructing the third runway of landing and in the previous phase for the construction of a fourth runway.

Tocumen’s expansion plans were affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) respiratory pandemic, hence the importance of updating the master plan. Between 2020 and 2022, the airport lost more than 228 million dollars and it was not until 2023 that the passenger traffic recorded in 2019 was exceeded, when 16.5 million travelers passed through Tocumen.

Panama was placed in Group E of the Futsal World Cup, which will take place between September 14 and October 6, 2024 in Uzbekistan.

The Panamanian team, led by Alex Del Rosario, will share the key with Portugal, Morocco and Tajikistan. It must be remembered that Portugal is the current champion of the category.

Panama arrives at the Futsal World Cup as the champion of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football (Concacaf).

The Panamanian team qualified for the World Cup by entering the top four in the Concacaf qualifying round, which took place last April in Nicaragua. In addition, they won their first regional title by beating Cuba in the final by a score of 4-3.

This will be the fourth participation in the Futsal World Cup, after seeing action in the editions of Thailand 2012, Colombia 2016 and Lithuania 2021.

The tournament has six groups and the first two in each group and the four best third parties qualify for the round of 16.


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