Wednesday 8th May 2024.

May 7, 2024


The first step is taken for the transition of government. The President of the Republic Laurentino Cortizo held a meeting at the Las Garzas Palace with José Raúl Mulino, who was elected last Sunday as the country’s leader.

Mulino arrived at the palace at 2:51 pm. He got out of a white truck. He was accompanied by the journalist Rafael Berrocal, and the lawyer Aníbal Galindo, who in the past led the extinct Patriotic Union party with Mulino.

Cortizo was waiting for him there, who was also wearing a suit. His was navy blue. He had a pin with the Panamanian flag and was wearing a mask. They shook hands and entered the Presidency of the Republic.

Seconds later, both left the Palacio de las Garzas and greeted the media before re-entering.

The meeting lasted about 45 minutes .

The European Union (EU) congratulated this Tuesday the new elected president of Panama, José Raúl Mulino , for his victory in last Sunday’s elections, and assured that it will continue working with the country to promote bilateral cooperation.

“The EU congratulates the winning candidate, José Raúl Mulino, on his victory, and looks forward to working with the new president and his administration,” a spokesperson for the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs, Josep Borrell, said in a statement.

The community diplomatic service stressed that Panama and the EU are “like-minded partners who share a commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

“The EU wishes to continue collaborating to boost bilateral cooperation and promote international relations based on multilateralism and international law,” he indicated.

The European Union also congratulated the people of Panama for having participated in “democratic and orderly elections” and for “their firm commitment to democracy, as demonstrated by the high electoral participation.”

The EU appreciated that the provisional results published by the Electoral Court point to a “clear result”, and that they have already been recognized by all presidential contenders, as well as by the current president.

On the occasion of these elections, the European Union deployed a mission of electoral experts to carry out a technical evaluation of the electoral process.

The candidates proclaimed for the different popularly elected positions have until May 20 to present the final report on campaign income and expenses for the private financing of their campaigns, indicated Isidro Carbonell, director of Political Financing Supervision of the Electoral Tribunal.

Carbonell emphasized that those proclaimed candidates who do not comply with this obligation within 15 days after the general election will not receive their credentials.

This requirement applies to both elected candidates and those who were not elected.

If the report is not delivered, economic sanctions proportional to the electoral position will be applied.

Presidential candidates who do not submit their report on time will be fined $2,000; while deputies, mayors, and some representatives and councilors in constituencies with more than 10,000 voters will face a fine of $1,000. For the rest of the candidates, the fine will be $200.

The report must also be submitted by those candidates who resigned during the electoral process. It can be submitted to the Income and Expense Registration System (SIRI) or manually at any of the offices of the Electoral Tribunal.

Eduardo Gaitán , 27 years old, made history in the elections on May 5 . With the independent banner of the Vamos coalition , he not only cornered the political veterans of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and Molirena , in the 8-2 circuit ( San Miguelito ), but also became the most voted deputy of the country. He obtained 64,869 votes , according to statistics from the Electoral Tribunal’s Unofficial Results Transmission system.

Gaitán visited the editorial office of La Prensa and spoke informally with journalists from this medium. He said that he made the campaign for deputy “more economical and more effective.” Less than $10 thousand was spent. He spoke of the impulse that his parents gave him and of the first thing he will do when he arrives at the National Assembly, starting July 1.

In the intricate political framework of the National Assembly, Gabriel Silva , independent deputy and leader of the Vamos coalition , made it clear that they are willing to build bridges with various groups, as long as they seek the well-being of the country.

In an interview with TVN , Silva emphasized that the conversations are open . In fact, the deputy extended an invitation to his colleagues from different political groups of free nomination to engage in pertinent conversations over the next two months.

According to Silva, the objective would be to establish a “common agenda, based on principles and values, with the purpose of improving the management of the National Assembly.”

The leader of the Other Path Movement (MOCA), Ricardo Lombana, also expressed a similar position, pointing out that the inclusion of the Vamos deputies, along with those of his party, would modify the panorama in the National Assembly.

“The youth have spoken loud and clear, and politics has undergone a significant change. The changes are progressive and my greatest satisfaction lies in the fact that the youth have come out forcefully to express their voice,” Lombana emphasized.

Following the same line, the president of Cambio Democrático, Rómulo Roux, congratulated the Vamos coalition and other independents through his social networks.

Roux described the situation in the Assembly as “a revolution that the country needed” and recognized the leadership of Juan Diego Vásquez and Gabriel Silva in this movement. “Now, we must all work for Panama,” concluded Roux.

The First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases applied a sentence of 80 months in prison to the candidate for the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) by free nomination Mayte Pellegrini, Carmen Alicia Puerta De León, Carlos Alberto Pellegrini, Hernán Cortés Rodríguez and Raúl Demetrio Phillips by the commission of the financial crime to the detriment of the liquidated brokerage firm Financial Pacific (FP).

In a ruling dated April 18, 2024 and signed by Judge Agueda Rentería , it is also reported that they are suspended from exercising public functions for the same period of the prison sentence.

The judge also ordered the seizure of several properties, apartments and bank accounts belonging to the defendants. According to the operative part of the decision made by Judge Rentería, these properties were acquired with funds belonging to the FP brokerage house.

The investigation began following a complaint filed by FP directors, West Valdés and Iván Clare, about alleged fraud in damages for the sum of up to $12 million.

According to investigations, Mayte Pellegrini, who served as head of treasury at FP, used assets from that brokerage house to create a series of businesses and purchase several real estate properties to benefit her family members.

During part of the process, which began in 2015, Mayté Pellegrini was detained in a cell at the Judicial Investigation Directorate (DIJ), but was later granted a precautionary measure of house arrest.

On March 19, this same court postponed until April 23 a trial against Mayte Pellegrini, Iván Clare, West Valdés, José Ricaurte Jaén and Oscar Rodríguez for the alleged commission of the crime of aggravated fraud to the detriment of Caye Bank International Bank . In January 2023.

In this case, the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases opened a criminal case in this case, concluding that the defendants, through fraudulent machinations, induced the foreign company to transfer money to FP’s bank account.

The electoral results of Sunday, May 5, present a complicated scenario for the rule of law, good governance and the sustainable development of the country. An elected president who has promised to give “help” to former president Ricardo Martinelli , and who has said that the “political persecution” is over, can represent a clear challenge to the Judicial Branch. That same Body that, in a waltz step, with the Electoral Court, let the person who is now the elected president run against the Constitution .

Fortunately, on May 5 the young people went to vote and caused the great avalanche of deputies by free nomination, turning the Vamos bench into the largest in the National Assembly. Using approximate figures, and excluding deputy Zulay Rodríguez, the “authentic” free nomination deputies must be about 20. If we add the 4 from the Other Path Movement, the 8 from the Panameñista Party, and the two from the Popular Party, we have a large total of 34 deputies. If a handful more of the 8 Democratic Change deputies are obtained, the magical number of 36 would be exceeded, that is, Vamos and his other allies would control the National Assembly.

Let’s be clear, the country needs a Chinese wall in the Justo Arosemena palace. With 36 deputies (or more) the president, vice president, secretary and deputy secretary general of the Assembly are appointed. The Comptroller General and the Deputy Comptroller General of the Republic, the Ombudsman, a magistrate of the Electoral Court are also appointed, and of course the two attorneys, all the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, and all and each of the administrators, sub-administrators, managers and deputy managers of the autonomous institutions. These 36 deputies also approve the General State Budget, each and every one of the laws presented by the Executive Branch, and the other public powers.

Let’s imagine what a Budget Commission means without Deputy Robinson as president (with Ernesto Cedeño in his place). Or perhaps a Credentials Commission without Representative Pineda at the head. By the way, the Commerce Commission would have to debate any possible new mining contracts. Another function of the Credentials Commission is to hear complaints against judges of the Court and against the President of the Republic himself. In other words, a coalition of 36 deputies led by Vamos would be a guarantee of having a counterweight that helps balance the country’s political forces.


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