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Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
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Bill on electoral reforms approved in third debate

Bill on electoral reforms approved in third debate

The approval in the third debate of the electoral reform project was given with 50 votes in favor and three against. Several articles were modified.

With 50 votes in favor, 3 against and 0 abstentions, Bill 544 on electoral reforms was approved in the third debate.

The discussion in the third debate began after that at 11:59 pm on Thursday, the deputies approved and eliminated articles, days after the technical table for the review of the electoral reforms finished evaluating the modifications of the project.

Articles that generated debate

Among what was approved, there were issues that initially generated citizen protests. It was decided that the amount corresponding to the pre-electoral financing that will be assigned to the candidates by free nomination will go from 3.5% to 7%, instead of the 15% as suggested by the Electoral Tribunal.

Likewise, it was decided to maintain the formula for assigning seats in the multi-member circuits, by quotient, half quotient and remainder, remaining the double count of the remainder.

On the other hand, the campaign caps remain the same: $10 million for candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and B / .350 for candidates for deputies. The rest also remains.

While the article that proposed that the participants registered in political parties could not sign the candidates by free nomination was eliminated; as well as the one that proposed the anticipated renewal of the boards of directors of the collectives.

Electoral Tribunal Review

For their part, the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) mentioned that they will be in permanent session to review the project. Previously they specified that they do not rule out the possibility of going to the judicial sphere due to the unconstitutionality that some articles contained in the norm would represent.

This 230-article project was prepared by the National Electoral Reform Commission. The first debate was interrupted after the TE magistrates withdrew from the discussion due to "inconsistent changes" that were introduced in the project. Later, the president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, met with the magistrate of the TE, Heriberto Araúz, and the president of the Assembly, Crispiano Adames, and agreed to create a technical table to review the articles. After reaching agreements, the Government Commission resumed the discussion in the first debate, until it was approved today in the third debate.

Sanction or veto of the project

The project will be sent to the Executive Branch for its veto or sanction. The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, said that he does not know, so far, how the modifications to the project were, however, once he receives the document, he will initiate a review process to decide whether to veto or sanction it.

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