Constitutional Reform: Optimism amidst Concerns

Businessmen in Panama are optimistic with the proposal of constitutional reforms that are the result of the consensus of different sectors, but are concerned that that inopportune changes to the purposes of expanding and modernizing the institutionality could be made.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Assembly discusses changes to the country's Constitution, which refer mainly to issues related to the Panamanian State, nationality and foreigners, fundamental and social rights, and political rights, among others.

Proposals were presented to the deputies to amend the Magna Carta, which reflected the consensus of the representation of the Council of the National Concertation for Development, made up of 23 sectors, for example, the National Council of Organized Workers (CONATO), the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), indigenous peoples, provinces, black ethnicity, political parties, local governments, the Executive Branch, the National Assembly itself, as well as social communicators, among others.

In this sense, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) "registers as a transcendental fact that the country is ready to introduce reforms in its constitutional order, a need long claimed by Panamanians."

Although there is optimism that significant changes will be made in favor of institutional modernization, CCIAP warns that they see "... concerned that beyond their constitutional prerogative to process and strengthen with positive content the reforms put forward for their consideration, some deputies seek to introduce in our Political Charter inappropriate changes, unnecessary or alien to the purposes of expanding and modernizing, through participation, inclusion and a true institutionality, democracy in our country, as established in an integral manner by the package recommended by the Concertation".

Jorge Juan de la Guardia, CCIAP president, added that "... The relationship between the Executive and Legislative Branches demands independence, as well as the assertion of counterweight roles. Based on this, we hope that the former will support and defend before the latter the reform project that it presented. We trust that, as one of the most transcendental actions of this five-year period, the Executive Branch will present itself with leadership to safeguard the aspirations of the majority and not of a few. Both our guild and the society that elected it will undoubtedly support it.

Our guild will be vigilant to what happens in the National Assembly, given that in this opportunity is at stake the future of Panama, especially with regard to the proposed freedom of expression, the re-election of deputies, the judging of these and generally concerning the area of the Administration of Justice, where the pillars of national development lie.

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