Bernal, Lumpenpresidentialism



by Miguel Antonio Bernal

Poor government performance that has been evident this last year, but in a more relevant way in the past six months. It affects all of the structural problems of our society.

The dynamic policy of marginalization has been accentuated, every day producing all manner of mistrust, disbelief, dissatisfaction, tension, and frustration in all social strata. There is no doubt that the presidential system of government has reached, with this government, its highest degree of deformation. In our times the degeneration of the presidential system – presidentialism — has reached a level of concentration of power in the figure of the president that’s far greater than it was at its origins.

In our particular case, the legacy of the militaristic constitution can be found in the functions and attributes granted to the Chief Executive or President of the Republic. Mutatis mutandi these derive from Article 277 that contemplated the initial version of the same. Hence the open inclination towards practices typical of authoritarianism, with ever more negative consequences for public liberties.

They have taken possession of power and don’t hesitate to use it like a criminal cartel (as did their immediate predecessors), resulting in fierce hits to the economy and the morale of the Panamanian people.

In Panama we have fully entered into lumpenpresidentialism. It’s a result of the putrefaction of presidentialism, which has more than demonstrated its willingness to violate any “constitutional order” that it swore to uphold. Situated far below presidentialism, nothing positive can be expected from lumpenpresidentialism.

Don Justo Arosemena, whose birthday was commemorated this past Sunday, said that: “The excellence of a government does not consist in its theory, but in being appropriate to the nature and character of the nation for whom it is instituted.”

But today all rational signs of responsibility languish. Obsolete and outdated regulations serve as a spur so that “nothing happens” here. We are told in many ways that citizens’ power will never flourish by way of a constituent process.

But Panamals lumpenpresidencialism will not rescue presidentialism from failure.



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