Today at midnight is the end of the campaign period for the primaries to be held next Sunday of the Cambio Democrático (CD-opposition) party, founded by former president Ricardo Martinelli, to choose the party’s presidential candidate in the general elections to be held by Panama in May 2019.
The CD party, founded two decades ago by former President Martinelli, imprisoned in the framework of a case for alleged illegal wiretapping during his term (2009-2014), is the third largest party in Panama with 352,146 adherents, according to data from the Electoral Court updated last March.
The Electoral Court of Panama recalled that as of midnight on Thursday the proselytizing campaign is prohibited, so that "the immediate removal of the propaganda posters and the suspension of any campaign activity that violates the electoral provisions will be ordered".
It said according to article 224, electoral propaganda is understood as the writings, publications, images, recordings, projections and expressions that are disseminated in compliance with the concept of electoral campaign.
August 10 to 12 will be the days of reflection for members of Cambio Democrático and political proselytizing is prohibited, said the electoral body in Panama.
It added the Elections Committee of the CD may continue to disseminate institutional propaganda until Sunday, August 12, the day of the primary election, but only to promote the participation of its members in the primaries.
"The electoral campaigns will only be allowed during the sixty calendar days prior to a general election or referendum, and within forty-five calendar days prior to the internal party elections," the Court recalled, citing Article 223 of the current Electoral Code.
Nearly a dozen candidates will be nominated in the presidential primaries of the CD party, including the party's current president, former Foreign Minister Rómulo Roux, and former Security Minister José Raúl Mulino.
Martinelli presided over the CD until last January, when he was defeated in internal elections by Roux, who is branded as "traitor" by the allies of the former president as an alleged key figure of the current president of the country, Juan Carlos Varela, which is denied by the presidential candidate.
In addition to the presidential primary, the CD will elect the rest of the candidates to hold popular election offices on September 30.
In May 2019 the president and vice president of Panama will be elected; the 71 deputies to the National Assembly (AN) and the 20 deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) with their respective alternates.
Also 81 mayors, 679 district representatives and 9 councilors, with their alternates will be elected.