on the election law reforms
Broad Front for Democracy (FAD)
The Broad Front
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
We pronounce our
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
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,
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,
incredible number of adherents required surpasses that of other
countries with populations up to five times greater than ours.
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
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
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
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
the misnamed "democratic system" is profound, and it's a
reflection of the moral rot that's eating away at the public
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
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.