Politics of Panama
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The politics of Panama take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic with multi-party system, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government.
Executive power is exercised by the president. Legislative power is vested in 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||Juan Carlos Varela||Panameñista Party||1 July 2014|
|Vice President||Isabel Saint Malo||Panameñista Party||1 July 2014|
The Executive Branch includes a president and one vice-president. President and vice-president are elected on a single ballot for one non-renewable five-year term by direct popular vote.
- Minister of Agricultural and Livestock Development: Enrique Carles
- Minister of Canal Affairs: Roberto Roy
- Minister of Commerce and Industries: Augusto R. Arosemena M.
- Minister of Economy and Finance: Dulcidio de la Guardia
- Minister of Education: Marcela Paredes de Vásquez
- Ministry of Environment of Panama: Mirei Endara
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Isabel Saint Malo
- Minister of Health: Miguel Mayo
- Minister of Housing: Mario Etchelecu
- Minister of Government: María Luisa Romero
- Minister of the Presidency: Álvaro Alemán
- Minister of Public Security: Alexis Bethancourt
- Minister of Public Works: Ramón Arosemena
- Minister of Social Development: Alcibiades Vásquez
- Minister of Work and Labor Development: Luis Ernesto Carles
- Attorney General: Kenia Isolda Porcell Alvarado
- Manager, National Bank of Panama: Rolando Julio de León Alba
- Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York: Laura E. Flores H.
(Source: CIA World Factbook: World Leaders, Panama)
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.
|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 dominant political parties in Panamanian history 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 votes 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.