Now comes CUCO
by Miguel Antonio Bernal
This past Wednesday, February the Movimiento Constituyente Va, which has for the past three years been promoting a call for a Constitutional Convention by way of diverse activities, presented its “Conceptual Document and Principles” as in initial proposal that can go on to be improved, as a contribution to the national debate about the need to move toward a constitutional process.
We start from the basis that the only sovereign power to make constitutional changes is the citizenry: “This leads us to distinguish between the original power and constituted power, understanding that the first is the one that makes the Constitution and the second is a power regulated and determined by the Constitution itself. From this it is understood that the original power is superior to that established or constituted by the Constitution itself. With this clarification, which explains that the original constituent power does not derive its powers from the current Constitution and, in any case, Article 2 of the current Constitution recognizes that ‘Public Power only emanates from the people.’ Therefore, one need not act according to the procedures that have been established to modify it. It is an unlimited constituent power, which can not be conditioned by any other pre-established norm or existing legal limitation.”
With this statement of principles in hand, a group of citizens has decided to establish the Citizens Movement United for a Constitutional Convention (Movimiento Ciudadanos Unidos por la Constituyente, or CUCO) and begin the necessary steps to get a new Constitution, which would be drafted in a Constitutional Convention. CUCO is not looking for reforms – what it wants it a change of the present Constitution rather than its continuity.
Its proposal seeks to replace the 1972 Constitution with the aim of surmounting the serious and obvious gaps between that Constitution and the demands of large sectors of Panamanian society that advocate a refoundation of the Panamanian government.
We invite all citizens who share our sense of the need for a Constituent Assembly and for a new Constitution, to join us and participate in CUCO.