The Electoral Court and the state-owned Banco Nacional, the main bank in Panama, signed an agreement that establishes the "operational parameters" for the opening, management, closure and supervision of campaign accounts, with one year remaining until the general elections to be held in May 2019.
The governing body of the elections reported today that the agreement establishes that the National Bank of Panama "is obliged to open campaign accounts to pre-candidates, candidates, political parties and political party candidates", while the Electoral Court "will authorize the opening and supervision of these accounts, as established by the norm".
The document states that the Bank must inform the Electoral Court "about unusual or suspicious handling of the accounts, whose opening is covered by this agreement, without prejudice to those reports to which it is obliged to make under special laws."
The electoral institution "undertakes to instruct, by means of a formal note, the opening of the single account of private financing by exception to those applicants who do not manage to open the account voluntarily".
Also "it will certify to the Bank the ceilings of collection allowed by means of private financing for campaign of political parties, pre-candidates, nominees by political parties and the candidates in particular".
The president of the electoral body, Judge Heriberto Araúz, stated that "without the support of the National Bank of Panama and its technical team it would be difficult for the Electoral Court to carry out the appropriate controls and oversight that the law demands and requires, for the well of an honest, integral electoral process requested by the community in general".
The general manager of the National Bank of Panama, Rolando Julio de León de Alba, said they are willing "to take by the hand, along with the Electoral Court, this effort to hold an election that can be a model for the whole world."
In May 2019 the president and vice president of the country will be elected in Panama; 71 deputies to the National Assembly (AN) and 20 to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) with their respective alternates, including 81 mayors, 679 district representatives and 9 councilors. All these main offices have their alternates.