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Volume 18, Number 1
January 9, 2012
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opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor

FAD on the election law reforms
by the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD)

The Broad Front for Democracy considers it opportune and necessary to state its position about the subject of election law reforms and the rejection by the legislative majority of the proposals of the National Commission on Electoral Reforms.

We pronounce our stand from our condition of being the only political party in formation officially recognized by the Electoral Tribunal, being obliged to overcome the unjust and anti-democratic rules of the game, which prevail as a result of the consensus among the parties that make up the partisan system which rules the country.

We are a party that has emerged from the heart of the people, made up of Panamanian men and women from the most diverse social sectors, who want to live in a truly just and democratic society.

Due to their legal recognition, none of the existing political parties have been submitted to such arduous tests. They all qualified with mobile registration books, with a smaller number of adherents required, and favored with the use of state resources and those of private enterprise, the latter deducted from income taxes.

Once they had accomplished their goals, with the passage of time they imposed more anti-democratic rules to impede the emergence of other political formations and guarantee the exclusivity of the participation of the wealthy sectors and their representatives in electoral contests.

In recent months, the FAD has seen itself obliged to sign members, bit by bit, at Electoral Tribunal offices during working hours. Some 1,500 conscientious citizens, making many sacrifices, including traveling long distances, have signed up for our new political project through December. In February, in anticipation of the official Electoral Tribunal calendar, we will begin a massive inscription with stationary books in communities, over a period of only four months to collect more than 64,000 signatures. In each case the physical presence of the adherent is required, which elsewhere is considered something absurd.

Apart from that, the incredible number of adherents required surpasses that of other countries with populations up to five times greater than ours.

The proposals coming out of the National Commission on Electoral Reforms, although still insufficient, represent an advance toward democratizing the present system. They were rejected by the votes of the greater part of all existing political parties during the course of the first and second debates in the National Assembly

What does the partisan regime resist? It rejects any formula that permits democratic progress in the Electoral Code, with respect to such necessary matters as the reduction of the number of members required to register a political party or an independent candidacy; the re-establishment of mobile party membership sign-up books, under which all of the parties recognized today were legalized; greater transparency with respect to the donation of funds to the political parties so that people might know their provenance; limits and honest management of the electoral subsidies; the democratization of election advertising and spaces in the communications media; and making the popular sovereignty of the Panamanian people meaningful with respect to the content of election choices and recall elections.

At the end of the day, the partisan regime, especially those now in the government, reject all initiatives that lead to the holding of elections under equal conditions for all participating factions, elections that are truly free and democratic, under the principle of one person, one vote.

They prefer to keep the rules of the game the same or make them harder --- so that the corrupt and exclusionary system that they head prevails. This permits those with the most money or who receive shady donations (later collected from the government that is elected) to buy elections of deputies, mayors, representantes and whole political parties, without this constituting an election crime. They want to continue deceiving the people through marketing and advertising and the offensive political patronage that has been growing and deepening with each election. They want to prevent elections from being turned into real debates about proposals. Need we mention the vulgar use of state resources to favor candidates, as was recently done in El Bebedero de Tonosi with the Electoral Prosecutor turning a blind eye.

The crisis that afflicts the misnamed "democratic system" is profound, and it's a reflection of the moral rot that's eating away at the public institutions.

The reforms proposed by the National Commission on Electoral Reforms would help to impede foreign powers and drug cartels from involvement in our electoral processes, as has been happening up to now.

The FAD expresses its support for the initiative by the members of the National Commission on Electoral Reforms to withdraw the discussion of election laws from the second debate. We condemn the attitude of the ruling parties, in complicity with the members of the misnamed "opposition," to disregard this reform effort, given their interest in perpetuating themselves in power through such means as the second round and presidential re-election, making use for this of the immense resources that they suck out of the public treasury.







    

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor


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