Overreaching For The Political Cookie Jar Sparks Debate


(MENAFN- Newsroom Panama)

Although the regulations allow it, when a candidate's grab for the political cookie jar overreaches, it can spark an intense debate about transparency and fairness in the upcoming elections in May 2024.

The independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez made this known in the Budget Commission of the National Assembly to the magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal (TE), Luis Guerra :“Let's not lie, magistrates, let's not tell the country that these elections are free, fair and equitable.”

Vásquez was referring to the use of the electoral subsidy by candidates who aspire to several positions.“There are candidacies that receive presidential subsidies for free nomination, which also coincide with candidacies through political parties and free nominations for other elected positions,” he said.

In the country, candidates are running for various popularly elected positions. The most emblematic case is that of the representative of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Zulay Rodríguez , who is currently a presidential candidate and representative of San Miguelito through free nomination. She is running as a candidate for mayor of that district for the Realizing Goals (RM) and Alianza parties.

Also on the list are Sergio Gálvez , who is a candidate for Mayor of Panama for the RM and Alianza parties. His running mate is Jackeline Muñoz , current representative of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

But the duo is not satisfied with that. Muñoz aspires to be re-elected in Parlacen and to do so, Alianza, the party of her father, José Muñoz Molina , guaranteed her nomination: she is number one on the list. Gálvez, in addition to seeking re-election as a deputy of the Assembly, now with the RM party, wants to be re-elected as a representative of the El Chorrillo community board, an institution that he has dominated for over 30 years.

In this group of candidates for various positions for the coalition made up of the RM and Alianza parties are the brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares .

The first is a substitute for RM's Parlacen and at the same time Alianza nominated him as a substitute for the candidate for deputy Tomás Benavides, in Veraguas.

For his part, Luis Enrique, in addition to being a substitute for Parlacen deputy for RM, is also José Muñoz Molina's second in his candidacy for deputy for the 8-6 vote.

The deputies
Several of the current PRD deputies are seeking to occupy more than one position in the next elections. For example, Jairo Bolota Salazar intends to repeat the strategy that he used in the current five-year period: to be elected deputy for the 3-1 circuit (Colón) and also as a representative of the district of Barrio Norte.

His colleague Benicio Robinson , who is also president of the PRD, seeks to be re-elected as deputy of Bocas del Toro, at the same time he aspires to occupy a position in Parlacen.

Javier Sucre is among those seeking re-election as a deputy, but he also aims to maintain his position in the Juan Díaz Community Board,
in the capital. In the 2019 elections, he was also elected as a representative of this local government, although he delegated the management of that office to his sister Imelda .

The former president of the National Assembly, Crispiano Adames , intends to ensure his re-election as deputy of the circuit, which includes San Felipe, El Chorrillo, Santa Ana, Calidonia, Curundú, Ancón, Bella Vista, Betania and Pueblo Nuevo. In addition, he has been nominated to occupy a position in Parlacen.

Another case
The controversial mayor of Colón, Alex Lee is also running for two positions: he has the ambition of maintaining his position as mayor. He also intends to secure his place on the Barrio Sur Community Board.


The representative Génesis Arjona is a candidate for representative of the Democratic Change party in Panama North and at the same time she wants to be a representative of Alcalde Díaz's district.

The Panamanista
Jorge Herrera is trying to retain both the seat of Aguadulce) and the mayor of Aguadulce, in the province of Coclé. In the 2019 elections, he won both positions. However, he preferred to serve the municipality and handed over the position in the Assembly to his substitute Bernardino González.

During the Budget Commission meeting, the Electoral Court magistrate Luis Guerra said the controversy over multiple nominations can be resolved with legislation.“As much as the Court wants to do the job, there are things that are difficult for us because the law does not accompany us. We have to put a stop to this, it's either one thing or the other,” Guerra said.

In September 2021, a ruling by the Supreme Court determined that the nomination of the same candidate for more than one popularly elected position is not unconstitutional, as well as the power of the Electoral Court to determine which of the positions the elected candidate will hold if he does not resign from one of them within a term. five days after the elections.

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