The vice president and chancellor of Panama, Isabel De Saint Malo, today called for a "serious and constructive" debate on the possibility of convening in the coming months a Parallel Constituent Assembly to renew the Magna Carta in effect since 1972 in the Central American country.
De Saint Malo expressed on Tuesday on Twitter that it is "important that civil society and political parties" attend the call made by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to "discuss the possibility of convening Parallel Constituent Assembly".
"The serious and constructive debate will provide valuable inputs for decision-making," said the Vice President and Chancellor of Panama.
The Panamanian government began a round of political consultations on Monday that it expects to end next June in search of opinions on a Parallel Constituent Assembly that, depending on the outcome of those talks, could be convened by Varela next July.
In a speech in the framework of the general elections in May 2019, Varela assured last Saturday that Panama needs "a new constitutional order to achieve the fundamental changes that society has been demanding and that would result in the modernization of state institutions and the strengthening of the young democracy" of the country.
The Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán, said on Monday that the constitutional changes that the Government would promote include reforms in the structure of the National Assembly and the system of election of judges of the Supreme Court.
If Varela introduces the bill for a Parallel Constituent Assembly in Parliament in July and it is approved, a fifth ballot will be introduced in the general elections of May 2019 so that the 60 constituents that will draft the new Magna Carta will be elected, which will be subject to a referendum to enter into force.
Analysts interviewed by Acan-Efe stated that they deem it unlikely that the National Assembly will approve the bill for a Constituent Assembly that Varela will eventually introduce, given the limited capacity for maneuver now held by the minority ruling party.