Chief Correspondent in Panama
In the opinion of former Secretary of State and political analyst George Ritter, the new rules for so-called independent candidates drastically cut registration time (June 1 – July 31) and required collection of signatures to support candidacy . Significantly more expensive, which should expire at the end of July next year.
In a phase of lowest credibility and trust in the Electoral Tribunal (TE), Ritter indicated, these reforms underline the apparent complicity of the government and traditional political parties against their rivals in the elections.
As per the rules, only the three pre-candidates who have the highest number of recognized rubrics will get classified after accumulating 2.0 per cent of the valid votes cast for the post for which they are interested in counselling.
To be certified, all the three applicants selected through free application will also have to submit income-expenditure report.
On this subject, economist Maribel Gordon, an independent presidential candidate, challenged irregularities in the collection of electronically signed signatures.
The representative of the Progressive Forces pointed out in an interview with Prensa Latina that illegalities on digital platforms, a manifestation of political clientelism, are evident and demand investigation.
The first investigation did in fact reveal the fraud and TE was forced to suspend use of the app on cell phones in October to support independent candidates.
In addition, it commissioned a study that confirmed a collection of 1,019 videos whose legitimacy of titles could not be verified, acknowledged Osman Valdés, director of the electoral organization.
Virtual Tool rehabilitated
Social organizations in Panama questioned TE’s decision last November to rehabilitate the collection of signatures supporting independent candidates via the Internet.
The apex electoral body decided to continue with this application for mobile phones, but without yet giving a report on the internal audit, which was to be carried out following complaints of irregularities and fraud.
It is a way for voters to issue signatures for free postulation in support of pre-candidates. The most recent opening enabled those with no more than one signature under investigation, Te said.
On the other hand, he promised that after this report is validated by the Technical University of Panama, disqualified candidates will be able to watch videos that explain why their signatures were revoked and, therefore, their right to use the app. Permission was revoked.
Although magistrates defend the tool and ensure it has no vulnerabilities, while they blame activists of ex-candidates for misusing the system, voices against the app continue to grow.
TE acknowledged that out of 286 thousand 644 signatures received with the app as of November, 28 thousand 836 (16 percent) are invalid, ie those that do not meet the requirements to be valid, and are being investigated.
The report said that 1,587 titles are challengeable (1.0 percent), especially those that were registered with expired identity cards, among other discrepancies.
Some independent candidates for deputies, such as Serena Vamvas, questioned the fact that the TE could not distinguish between possible accidental errors and inappropriate action on the part of the person who recorded the endorsement and lack of truthfulness.
Vamwas said it appears they are making improvements and doing everything backwards, but first they must complete an internal audit to determine whether anyone had obtained signatures incorrectly or fraudulently. .
In the opinion of the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (FRENADESO), the complaints should not be ignored and should be warned about the apparent fraud that characterizes the collection of signatures in support of independent candidates, in two consultations A Prelude to The Years.
parties get ready
Traditional political organizations such as the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Panamanian Party draw up primary procedures to select their candidates for various popular election positions. The PRD activated the National Executive Committee (CEN), a supreme body that would also accelerate popular alliances with other groups and approve reforms to legislation; It also confirmed the calendar and rules of the primaries, a tournament that will be set for July 11, 2023.
Last September, for its part, the Panamanian party led by José Isabel Blandón agreed that they would hold a single primary for all positions leading up to the July 16 popular election.
Following that unanimous decision, the leaders of the group began a tour across the country to consult with the bases, to determine where primaries for the positions of deputy, mayor or representative of the corregimiento should be held in the event of a future alliance. whether to do or not. ,
In this regard the specified collective has a resolution that these consultations are done between 1st October to 31st December 2022.
Analysts speculate that while meeting the goals, Molina, Alianza, Pai and the Popular Party are harmonizing with other groups, nothing has been agreed for now, and the disintegration of the Otro Camino movement must be taken into account.
The electoral calendar establishes that, in February 2023, parties must announce to the TE the positions that will be contested at the election.
The groups that will go to an electoral contest for the first time are the Realizando Metas Party, the Other Way Movement (MOCA) and the Social Independent Alternative Party (PAIS).
On May 5, 2024, the people of Panama will elect the country’s new President and Vice-President, 20 Deputies of the Central American Parliament, 71 Deputies of the National Assembly, 81 Mayors, 701 Corrigimiento Deputies and 11 Mayors, all with their respective members will do. The respective option, for the period from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2029.