Politics of Panama
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politics and government of
Politics of Panama takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.
Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The branches are according to Panama's Political Constitution of 1972, reformed by the Actos Reformatorios of 1978 and the Acto Constitucional of 1983, united in cooperation and limited through a system of checks and balances
Three independent organizations with clearly defined responsibilities are found in the constitution: the Comptroller General of the Republic has the responsibility to manage public funds; the Electoral Tribunal has the responsibility to guarantee liberty, transparency, and the efficacy of the popular vote; and the Ministry of the Public oversees interests of State and of the municipalities.
|President||Ricardo Martinelli||Democratic Change||1 July 2009|
|Vice President||Juan Carlos Varela||Panameñista Party||1 July 2009|
The Executive Branch includes a president and one vice-president. Both are elected on a single ballot for one non-renewable five-year term by direct popular vote.
- Minister of Agricultural and Livestock Development: Oscar Armando OSORIO
- Minister of Canal Affairs: Romulo Alberto ROUX Moses
- Minister of Commerce and Industries: Ricardo QUIJANO Jimenez
- Minister of Economy and Finance: Frank DE LIMA
- Minister of Education: Lucinda MOLINAR
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Juan Carlos VARELA
- Minister of Health: Franklin VERGARA
- Minister of Housing: Carlos Alberto DUBOY Sierra
- Minister of Government: Jorge Ricardo FABREGA
- Minister of the Presidency: Demetrio PAPADIMITRIU
- Minister of Public Security: Jose Raul MULINO Quintero
- Minister of Public Works: Federico Jose SUAREZ
- Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises: Giselle de CALCAGNO
- Minister of Social Development: Guillermo Antonio FERRUFINO Benitez
- Minister of Work and Labor Development: Alma Lorena CORTES Aguilar
- Attorney General: Ana Isabel BELFON Vejas
- Manager, National Bank of Panama: Dario BERBEY
- Ambassador to the United States: Mario JARAMILLO
- Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York: Pablo Antonio THALASSINOS
(source: CIA World Factbook: World Leaders, Panama)
Political parties and elections
|Ricardo Martinelli||Democratic Change, Patriotic Union Party, Panameñista Party, Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement||952,333||59.97|
|Balbina Herrera||Democratic Revolutionary Party, People's Party, Liberal Party||597,227||37.70|
|Guillermo Endara||Fatherland's Moral Vanguard Party||36,867||2.33|
|Valid votes (turnout 73.99%)||1,558,445||100.0|
|Source: Tribunal Electoral|
The Judicial Organ administers justice in a permanent, free, and expeditious manner. It comprises the Supreme Court of Justice, the Tribunals, and the judges established by law, according to the constitution of Panama (title VII, chapter 1).
An autonomous Electoral Tribunal supervises voter registration, the election process, and the activities of political parties. Everyone over the age of 18 is required to vote, although those who fail to do so are not penalized.
In Panamanian history, the dominant parties have been the PRD and the Panameñista (former Arnulfista Party). These parties were founded by charismatic and strong political enemies, Omar Torrijos (PRD)—the deceased father of the previous president, Martín Torrijos—and Arnulfo Arias (Panameñista/Arnulfista), late husband of the ex-president, Mireya Moscoso. Even though these leaders died years ago, their aura is revived by their followers, and they are present in every election.
Panamanian politics have historically been corrupt. Lately, the Panamanian society and press are auditing and fighting for improvements. A sign of this is the lack of young vote in the referendum of October 22, 2006, showing a lack of confidence in Panamanian politics and politicians.
- Harding, Robert C. (2001). Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7658-0075-6.
- Harding, Robert C. (2006). The History of Panama. Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 978-0-313-33322-4.