Varela speaks of constitutional changes

The Electoral Tribunal of Panama announced Saturday, May 5th, 2018 that the country will hold the next general election on May 5, 2019.

Exactly one year from yesterday, voters will choose a new president that will serve a five-year term.  

Saturday president Juan Carlos Varela also announced a plan to “kick-start a series of popular consultations on constitutional changes” before the upcoming vote.  

Among the changes he announced during the election tribunal event, included “forging a constitutional assembly that would be elected in the general election” according to an article published by Returns. La Prensa reported that starting Monday, May 7, an agenda would be created jointly with the Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán. The consultations would be extended for seven weeks - that is, May and June Varela explained at the Electoral Tribunal event. 

"Two days ago I held a meeting with the magistrates of the TE to inform them that I have taken the decision to begin the process of consultations, with a view to creating a new constitutional order for the country, in order to achieve the fundamental changes that society Panamanian has been claiming and that would result in the modernization of State institutions and the strengthening of our young democracy, " explained the president. 

Varela critics were not fond of the move. “This adds uncertainty to the electoral process,” said Romulo Roux, president of the Democratic Change party. “It’s a political measure for (Varela) to maintain his power after 2019.” 

The election tribunal revealed that $55.9 million would be spent on the elections which will be the sixth democratic vote since the end to dictatorship in the country.