Tuesday 4th June 2024.

June 3, 2024


Marking the first official day of transition between the outgoing and incoming governments, José Raúl Mulino received his credentials as president-elect of Panama, this Monday, June 3, at the main headquarters of the Electoral Tribunal (TE).

Upon leaving the event, Mulino, who ran for the Realizing Metas (RM ) and Alianza parties , told the media that this afternoon he will hold another meeting with President Laurentino Nito Cortizo in which they will talk about state security issues.

“Each ministry is already linked to the outgoing minister and the meetings formally begin today,” said Mulino. “Everyone is a technician in their area. What I have asked [the ministers] is, ‘request all the information possible to be able to make the best decisions.’”

The country’s financial reports have not yet been presented to him, said Mulino, who added that the next meeting with the outgoing government will cover precisely that issue.

The event, a purely protocol event, began with promotional videos prepared by the TE that recounted what happened in the elections on May 5.

The room was full and several people had to stand. Mulino appeared calm sitting in the front row next to his wife Maricel Cohen while he watched a video of the official TE call that proclaimed him the president-elect a little after 9 pm on May 5.

The designated Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar , today, June 3, sent a message to teachers: “calm down, nothing is happening” in the face of the reactions that have arisen among the various teaching unions, after her appointment to the portfolio.

Molinar indicated that they are going to talk, but we must respect that there is an authority in office right now. We are going to meet with the unions, it was one of the President’s first requests, she said.

On June 1, 2024, a total of 16 teaching unions presented a roadmap with State educational policies. This, in order to improve relevant aspects of Panamanian education, such as educational transformation and greater efficiency in budget management, they explained at a press conference.

The National Alliance of Educators of Panama (UNEP) and the Association of Educators for the Quality of Panamanian Education (Unecep) presented their proposals based on three aspects: the transformation of the educational system (curriculum and its functions), compliance with the decentralization law in the educational system, and improvements in the competition for teacher appointments.

Recently, the national secretary of the Association of Veraguense Educators (AEVE) , Luis Sánchez, reported that as an organization they hope that in this new opportunity, Mrs. Molinar returns with good intentions to resolve the educational crisis and maintain an open and responsible dialogue with the educators and unions.

Molinar’s statements were made during the delivery of credentials as president-elect of Panama to José Raúl Mulino.

“I will do what I have to do, I am not going to sign any appointment they make.” This is how the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, responded regarding the selection process for the new director of the Social Security Fund (CSS) that the entity’s board of directors has initiated, despite the refusal of the president who today received his credentials for part of the Electoral Tribunal.

Mulino had previously indicated that he will not accept suggestions of names or shortlists to choose the new director of the CSS, which come from a questioned board of directors or whose members have expired their terms.

The board of directors of the CSS opened the call for the selection of the new general director of the entity for the period between 2024 and 2029.

They announced that interested parties must present their documentation to the General Secretariat of the CSS between June 3 and 21.

The organic law of the CSS stipulates the conditions for the appointment of the director of the entity, for a period of five years, who will be chosen from a list of three candidates who must emerge from a competition called by the board of directors.

Article 35 of Law No. 51 of 2025 establishes that the proposal will be prepared between July 1 and 31, at the beginning of each presidential term.

Hence, the insistence of the current board of directors on starting a selection process is surprising, when the president-elect opposes this happening so far in advance of his arrival at the Palacio de las Garzas.

The Fourth Administrative Electoral Court did not admit the challenge claim against the elected representatives of the 8-6 circuit: Alaín Cedeño , from Realando Metas (RM); Betserai Richards , free nomination; Manuel Samaniego , from the Vamos coalition and Raphael Buchanan , from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

This was confirmed to this medium by Antonio San Martin, the lawyer who processed the appeal. At the moment they are evaluating whether to appeal or not.

The challenge was promoted by Cecibel García, former candidate for deputy for this circuit and mother of the former deputy of the Panameñista Party, Katleen Levy. García alleged that they found at least 66 minutes with alleged irregularities that included “errors and crossed outs.”

Other electoral courts have already rejected some of the lawsuits filed against deputies elected in the elections of May 5. For example, the Fourth Electoral Court dismissed the challenge presented by the General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office against Alaín Cedeño; while the Third Electoral Court also did not admit the challenge of Ubaldo Vallejos against Benicio Robinson, of the PRD, who was elected in the 1-1 circuit, Bocas del Toro.

Vallejos appealed the decision last Saturday.

The First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases lifted the measure preventing the elected mayor of the district of Panama from leaving the country, Mayer Mizrachi , who faces a process for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering to the detriment of the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG).  The decision, signed by the first judge liquidating criminal cases, Águeda Rentería , was notified to the parties through edict No. 725, published at the headquarters of that court this Monday.

However, Mizrachi must inform the court of the times he leaves the country and his return.

Judge Rentería also ordered to apply the precautionary measure of notification once a month for Mizrachi, who must comply with it in the first five days of each month.

The investigation is related to the alleged breach of a contract for $211,850, signed in March 2014 between the State and the company Innovative Venture SA for the installation, for a period of nine months, of a messaging platform called Criptex in the mobile phones of officials of the State security establishments, and which according to the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office was never installed.

Also, an internal audit conducted by the AIG in 2014 revealed that Innovative Venture, owned by Mizrachi, breached the contract.

The designated Minister of the Environment , Juan Carlos Navarro, stated this Monday, June 3, that he hopes that the closure of the mine, located in Donoso, province of Colón, will be orderly and self-financing.  “It is a super complex issue. There is an enormous environmental risk right now. There are exposed slopes. We are starting the rainy season. A phenomenon is expected from the girl,” said Navarro.

According to Navarro, he has discussed the issue of the mine with the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, and that he has already made contacts with the outgoing administration of the Ministry of the Environment, but that on June 14 a formal meeting will be held with the current managers of the institution.

One of the issues that will require immediate intervention by the next Government, as of July 1, is the situation of the mine located in the mountains of Donoso and Omar Torrijos, in the province of Colón, which poses serious challenges for both the environment as well as for the communities close to this project.

In this place, mining activity is paralyzed and, with each passing day, the risk of contamination grows if it is not attended to diligently.

The Panama Fire Department confirmed the death of three people after the fire that broke out around midnight this Sunday, June 2, in a barracks, near Chinatown, in San Felipe.

“The fire was controlled quickly because [the structure] was consumed quickly as well. “We just found a body, that of a lady,” said Ricardo De León, from the Fire Department, after 6:30 am this Monday. About an hour later, the discovery of two other lifeless bodies was confirmed.

According to authorities, the incident began at approximately 11:00 pm on Sunday and was extinguished around 1:30 am on Monday.

The fire broke out in a barracks on Veraguas Street, near Barrio Chino, in San Felipe.

Firefighters reported that relatives of the affected people and local residents reported the disappearance of three people who lived in this house. Preliminarily, it was said that about 25 people resided in the property.

To control the fire, firefighters used 80 agents and seven fire extinguishers.

The Firefighters Safety Office, the Judicial Investigation Directorate and personnel from the Public Ministry began investigations into this incident.

The Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Panama (Imhpa) issued this Monday, June 3, a nationwide rain watch warning, which extends until midnight on Thursday the 6th.

According to the Imhpa report, in the coming days there will be unstable and favorable atmospheric conditions to generate abundant and intense rains.

The population is asked to avoid crossing swollen rivers and streams, and to be alert to possible floods, landslides and falling trees.

Panama is already entering the rainy season and according to forecasts in the Caribbean region, a greater number of hurricanes are expected.

More articles