Panama’s The Chamber of Commerce, (CCIAP) has joined the swelling chorus of voices expressing concern about legislators manipulating the debate on the constitution to protect their own interests.
On Sunday, October the Chamber warned about the fact that some deputies of the National Assembly seek to introduce - in the midst of the debate on constitutional reforms - changes "inappropriate, unnecessary or alien" for the purpose of expanding and modernizing , through participation, inclusion and true institutionality, democracy in the country, "as the package recommended by the Constitution committee recommends.".
The business organization said that the relationship between the Executive and Legislative body "demands independence", as well as enforcing counterweight roles, and said that it expects the Executive to "support and defend" before the Legislative the draft reforms to the Constitution that it presented and that came from the work done by the Council of the National Development Council .
"We trust that, as one of the most transcendental actions of this five-year period, the Executive Branch will present itself with leadership to protect the aspirations of the majority and not a few. Both our guild and the society that elected the government will certainly support it" said the group’s weekly newsletter
The CCIAP says it will remain vigilant to what happens in the National Assembly, as the future of Panama is at stake; especially as regards what is proposed with regard to freedom of expression, the re-election of deputies, their judgment and, in general, what concerns the scope of the administration of justice.
On July 15, the President, Laurentino Cortizo, received the constitutional reform package agreed by the National Development Council.
A day later, in full, the Cabinet Council endorsed the bill that includes changes to the country's fundamental charter. The Government Commission of the National Assembly presented on October 11, before the legislative plenary, the report of the citizen consultations carried out on the package of constitutional reforms.
On October 17, the Assembly approved the first block of the reforms (which includes nationality and immigration, fundamental rights and political rights) and the debate will be resumed on Monday, October 21 with the second block (referring to the changes to the Executive, Legislative and Judicial organs).