While citizen groups are ratcheting up a“no to reelection campaign targeting cookie jar plundering deputies, ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, from his residence in El Renacer prison, continues to strive to achieve a lower seat at the legislative table than he occupied last time around. While he tries to convince judges that he is medically unfit for jail, he continues his bid for office as a stepping stone to another run at the presidency in 2024.
Meanwhile a day after it was announced that the Fifth Electoral Court rejected challenges filed against ex-his candidacies for Mayor of Panama or for a deputy seat in the National Assembly La Prensa reported that The US Embassy in Panama has "been observing the case carefully" and the former president "clearly has not lived in Panama for a year" after he "fled" to the United States in the midst of wiretapping allegations.
"At the request of the Panamanian Government, he was extradited, and the United States only extradites in cases in which the evidence merits his return for prosecution," the Embassy told La Prensa.
Electoral judge Elvia María Rengifo considers that the complaints were "inadmissible because the electoral residence had to be challenged at the time when the voter registry for the elections of May 5 was being purged. - between May 16 and June 18, 2018. That is, it had to be done electoral judge seven days after Martinelli was extradited and before he was named as a candidate.
The plaintiffs argued that he does not meet the requirements set out in the law to be a candidate since he does not have a year residing in the area he wants to represent, as stipulated in the Electoral Code.
They stated that he left the country on January 28, 2015, and settled in Miami, and was returned extradited to Panama on June 11, 2018.
Jorge Hernán Rubio, who made the complaint said yesterday that the judge rejected the challenges "without processing" the evidence, relying on the "thesis" of Carlos Carrillo, Martinelli's lawyer, who argues that his candidacy is legitimate since Martinelli appears in the voter registry as a resident of circuit 8-8. "We consider that there is a constitutional violation," said Rubio.