Tuesday 13th June 2023.

June 12, 2023


Six members of the current bench of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in the National Assembly, made up of 35 deputies, lost the ticket to seek re-election in the 2024 general elections after being defeated in the primaries this Sunday, June 11 by opponents within the governing body.

They are deputies Alejandro Magno Castillero Pinilla , from circuit 6-1 (Chitré); Eric Broce Espino , from 7-1 (Guararé, Las Tablas, Pedasí and Pocrí); Petita Ayarza Pérez , from 10-1 (Guna Yala); Alina González Córdoba , from 8-5 (in the north of Panama City); Ernesto Tin Guardia , in the 2-1 (Coclé) and Mariano López , in the 3-1 in Colón.

In the 6-1, where only one deputy is elected, Castillero lost to Jaime Bambi González by a difference of more than 15 percentage points (34% against 49.2%). Castillero’s current substitute, Robin García Cedeño, who was seeking the position of principal, came in third place.

Also in Azuero, in 7-1, where only one deputy is elected, Broce succumbed in a vote of 46% against Noé “Ñopo” Herrera, who achieved 53.9%. Almost eight points difference.

Meanwhile, Ayarza was left out of contention by a difference of around five points that Flor Brenes took from him, when more than 90% of the votes were counted, according to data from the Unofficial Transmission of Results (TER) system of the Electoral Tribunal. In 10-1 only one deputy is chosen. For her part, deputy Alina González, from the 8-5 circuit, where three deputies are elected and one of them is reserved by the party leadership, was unable to enter between the two that were disputing these spaces. Yamilka Chirú (43.5%) and former deputy Yassir Purcait (25.7%), in second place, did get the quota. González was in third place (21.8%).

They did not vote for any of the eight candidates who on Sunday June 11 competed for the presidential candidacy of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). Instead they voted blank. 10.78% of those who cast the ballot, that is, 46,635 PRD militants, chose that option.

What does it mean? Three connoisseurs of local politics make an analysis..

Javier Ordinola , a lawyer and specialist in electoral issues and the electoral jurisdiction, indicated that he does not remember any PRD primary process where there has been that percentage of “protest votes.”

He pointed out that the blank vote is nothing more than a “protest vote”, since it represents those who do not feel fully convinced of the electoral offer or the proposals of those who participate as candidates. Normally, Ordinola explains, the people who decide on this option want to record their disagreement with the options proposed by the political parties or their indifference towards these proposals.

In the words of political analyst José Stoute , it is a surprising amount. He also warned that if the nulls are added, that gives 16% of the votes cast. In total, there are 69 thousand 574 votes. “Which leads us to suspect that the majority were forced voters, who once inside the ballot box expressed their discontent in this way. A part of them, also forced, could not agree with any of the candidates on the ballot,” However, he noted that whatever the reasons are, they are votes that do not favor the pro-government candidate.

While the analyst Edwin Cabrera warns that the real challenge now facing José Gabriel Carrizo, PRD presidential candidate; and the leadership of that party, headed by Benicio Roibinson, is how to get the PRD to unite with a view to May 2024. “The fact that 16% of the vote on Sunday was between blanks and null, constitutes a bigger challenge. The message is very clear: it is the first time, since the country returned to democracy, that the PRD is perceived to be so dispersed”.

Cabrera adds that it will depend on the political talent of Carrizo and the PRD leadership, to add to the dispersed and the 16% of those who voted blank and null.

Rogue, scoundrel, make it more of a man. With these qualifiers, Benicio Robinson, president of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), referred to former president Martín Torrijos, who shortly before the PRD primaries, said that in this tournament it was defined “if morality and decency prevail or if clientelism imposes its candidates”.

“The truth is that the villainy and the joy of being in the Government, it seems that he has not lost it yet. He now comes to rescue the party that he abandoned for 15 years. That is the mischief of a scoundrel. That he be more male ”, assured the deputy president of the Budget Commission of the National Assembly, from Bocas del Toro, the province that he represents in the Legislature.

Robinson also called Torrijos a “coward” for seeking the presidential candidacy for the 2024 elections, through the Popular Party (PP).

In a video released last Friday, June 9, Torrijos, a member of the PRD, recalled that the primaries were a commitment they made in the past to “promote democracy”, but questions that a large number of positions have been reserved in this tournament. to favor the current leadership of the party, “a leadership that acts according to their petty interests.”

Three new deaths from influenza were reported on the morning of this Monday. This brings the death toll to 10, the authorities reported.

Melva Cruz, general director of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, indicated that among the new cases is that of an eight-year-old boy and two adults, aged 30 and 41.

On Sunday, the head of the Health portfolio, Luis Francisco Sucre, explained that among the deaths from influenza in the country are two minors who were between 9 and 12 years of age.

In turn, Cruz specified that eight of the deceased to date had not been vaccinated against influenza; the rest are investigated for their vaccination status.

“It is very important that they get vaccinated,” stressed the official. He reiterated that the population can go to the police centers and the Minsa-Capsi, which are vaccinating from 7:00 a.m.

Cruz explained that the entire population should be vaccinated, but there are people who should be a priority, since they are more prone to getting this virus. These are those under five years of age, over 65 years of age, people with comorbidities, arterial and cardiovascular hypertension, diabetes, obesity and immunosuppressed people, she mentioned.

The educational communities of the Professional and Technical Agricultural Institute (IPTA) of Tonosí and the Rosa María Angulo elementary school raised their voices this Monday, June 12, to reject the extraction of gold in Cerro Quema, province of Los Santos.

The students, teachers and administrators, supported by parents of the Tonosí IPTA, carried out a human chain in El Cacao de Tonosí (school headquarters). There, in addition to carrying banners, they chanted slogans to ask the Government of Laurentino Cortizo to stop their intentions to reactivate this project.

Meanwhile, students from the Rosa María Angulo elementary school in Tonosí carried out a walk as a protest measure. “Let’s protect our nature, its water resources, its fauna and flora”, “No to mining, yes to life”, “There is no money to pay for the damage done to mother earth”, were the messages that were read from the banners.

Eduar Melgar, coordinator of the Department of Natural Sciences of the IPTA of Tonosí, stressed that this human chain is just the beginning of a series of protest actions “against” this death project called the Cerro Quema mining company.

He said that it is no secret to anyone that in the areas where mines have been exploited, damage to the environment is observed, mainly the excess use of water and its contamination, as well as the destruction of flora and fauna.

While the country moves around a partisan political agenda, at the pace of a pre-election year, actuarial analyzes warn of the severe crisis of the public pension system, the enormous immediate commitments and the insufficient funds to pay retirees.

A report delivered to the board of directors of the Social Security Fund (CSS), on May 15, indicates the seriousness of the situation regarding the debt owed to the current pensioners of the exclusively defined benefit subsystem Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM). This is $22,751 million, calculated as the constitutive capital to face the pensions in force until December 31, 2021.

This debt is increasing, considering that each year more workers enter the pension program.

Gisselle Valles, head of the Actuarial Department of the CSS, presented a report of the IVM regime with reference to the most recent financial results (2021). The commitments that will be made with the active and inactive policyholders were calculated. That is to say, including the workers who will be entitled to a retirement but who at this moment do not pay their quotas. This, in order to be able to measure the amount of expenses these people could generate in the future.

Average salaries, returns on investments made with program funds, and the financial situation of the pension system as a whole at the end of 2021 were also evaluated.

In the case of the exclusively defined benefit subsystem, according to the information for 2021 (published on December 29, 2022) an annual income of just $1,568 million was observed, while annual spending reached $2,032 million and reserves barely reach $1,000 million.

Valles confirmed what the entire country already knows, but which seems to fall on deaf ears. “There is an actuarial deficit because the reserves of $1,000 million will not be enough to cover the cost of the constituent capital”, that is, everything that must be paid to current pensioners during their retirement years.



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