Cortizo faces the political challenge of taking constitutional reform off

President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, facing the political challenge of rallying to the country in a great dialogue to promote a constitutional reform in the hands of the UN, after parliament, government majority, miscarry a first draft for discussion, they said Efe analysts.

For this Cortizo account as political capital in their favor, with the confidence generated among various national sectors, demonstrated by the applause to the appointment he made last December of three judges of the Panamanian Supreme and the new Attorney General of the country.

Constitutional reform is one of the campaign promises of Cortizo, so the same last July, when he took office for five years from 2019 to 2024, filed with the National (AN) Assembly a project aimed, he said, to strengthen institutions and the fight against corruption.

The reform bill was drafted by the National Coalition, an entity created in 2008 and composed of twenty sectors, but the changes he introduced the Parliament in the first of two mandatory discussions for approval final before being submitted to a referendum , protests of rejection broke out in the streets.

Members initiatives criminalize opinion published on social networks or traditional media, creating special prosecutors, university autonomy affect or determine that marriage is between a man and a woman, caused the rejection.

This led Cortizo on December 23 announced the withdrawal of the Parliament the draft constitutional reform to open a national new and wider consultation with the facilitation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


The analyst Nils Castro believes that Cortizo has shown "realism" in reacting to collective frustration and taking out Parliament's reform project to create better expectations on the subject.

Castro believes that reform goes, but that "much will depend on the work of Cortizo with its own government, its own party (PRD historical), because I think one of the things in which he can least trust is in Parliament as an organ to do these things for itself. "

"It does not have an ethically reliable Parliament, nor sufficiently representative of the country's new possibilities, but rather representative of the vices of the past, inherited," Castro said.

That is why Cortizo Castro believes that "have to take the car (of reforms) media ahead with the Executive, with the media, with political circles of society, rather than institutional."

The lawyer Rodrigo Noriega, analyst and editor of opinion, told Efe that Cortizo appealed to the way that has worked for the political class in the last 25 or 30 years, which is used to UNDP "for, ironically, to negotiate with the own political class and agree on a reform to the State. "

UNDP recalled Noriega facilitated dialogue the most successful in the history of this country to incorporate, in 1994, a title dedicated exclusively to the Interoceanic Canal Authority and the Panama Canal in the Constitution.

Noriega believes that a reform of the state "is necessary", and believes that Cortizo "is committed to do it and are looking for ways to do it without spending political capital to call a Constituent".

Noriega Castro agrees that "convene a Constituent Assembly would have been very good at the media plane the day it convenes, but could be a empatanamiento and longer-term frustration".

The analyst Adolfo Linares noted that while constitutional reforms are important, "not a panacea" to solve national problems, and considers that before attack them "should define what we want towards follow as a country" and the government "take the lead implement them. "

"But now the current year in my opinion is extremely vague, because basically it seems that the Constitution was to write not only a foreign entity such as UNDP, which has its own agenda and their own interests," but "worldwide , for the common Panamanian, and that can't be, "said Linares.

On December 23, the Executive and UNDP signed a memorandum of understanding for the "new dialogue process that concludes in a new proposal for constitutional reforms."

The UN body will act as a facilitator, not a mediator in the dialogue process, which could take between 5 to 6 months starting in early 2020, the resident representative of the UN body, then Linda Maguire said.


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