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Government forced to convince the Assembly

Government forced to convince the Assembly
  • Asamblea Nacional Panamá

After the start of the extraordinary sessions in the National Assembly (AN), President Juan Carlos Varela faces the refusal of the deputies to approve their bils and proposals, with the ratification of the magistrates among the most important.

With the start of the talks on Monday, the president of the AN, Yanibel Ábrego, indicated that it is a process that takes time and that there is no rush, pressure or any weight, so the beginning of the pending debates and and the process of agreeing on each of the parties, will take time.

After the nomination of Olmedo Arrocha for the Civil Chamber, and Abel Zamorano, for the Third Chamber in the Supreme Court (CSJ), undoubtedly this will be the main point in the debates, which is expected to take the course of other negotiations that continue on the horizon. However, the new magistrates will be the most important and difficult, given the clear division of opinions between the Government and the deputies.

In other issues, the situation of Pandeportes also plays an important role, mainly due to the fact that the Government proposed bill 659 inherent in the General State Budget, in which a way is sought to ensure its re-election in 2019 and the opposition deputies are totally against, both of the measure that exonerates any sports institution from traditional auditing processes (Article 345) and from Varela's own re-election.

In this same bill, there is a section that discusses the power of the Social Security Fund (CSS) in its possibility of acquiring supplies, instruments and medicines outside the Public Procurement Law, with a limit of one million dollars.

Given the evident tension that was also confirmed by Sergio Gálvez (Deputy of Cambio Democrático and president of the Credentials Committee), the sessions enter a complicated stage to which the evident absence of the date itself is added, in which each one of the deputies is responsible for making visits to its circuits, as well as enjoying with their family these Christmas holidays and also Mother's Day.

Both Ábrego and Gálvez assure that everything will be taken with the necessary calm, so that each delegation and commission will be in charge of its relevant area and with the due process to clarify each point, which until now seems to be blocked by unfulfilled negotiations, as La Estrella de Panamá outlined.

The appointment of Magistrate also brings up the substitute of Jerónimo Mejía, judge in the Martinelli Case, who at the moment has no replacement position on the Government’s behalf.

Panamá Pacifico (PP) and the Tax Code are the other important issues that will be debated between this Monday and next December 31. In the first case, the recommendations made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to make changes in labor and tax, which seek to balance the payment of taxes and labor areas established in this regard.

In the case of the Tax and Criminal Code, only two days will be used to read the modifications, which, as in the case of labor taxes, correspond to external requests, from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the OECD and the Financial Action Group. These groups promote that in Panama tax frauds not only have administrative penalties, but also criminal penalties, with a period of 2-4 years in prison plus a fine of 1-3 times the amount the person who incurs in the crime stops paying.

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