Transparency in Panama’s political process has been further eroded by the adoption of the first block of electoral reforms that have removed several key items.
They include guarantees of a more transparent electoral process, greater citizen participation and the strengthening of the Electoral Tribunal (TE).
The presiding judge of the TE, Gerardo Solis, and sectors of civil society concur that on electoral safeguards for the 2014 election have been reduced says La Prensa.
Deputies took away the right to inspect TE public funding (subsidy) received by political parties before and after the elections. This could add about $ 33 million not under control of the TE and under exclusive management of political parties.
Articles dealing with transparency in private financing, spending caps and gifts were not passed. This set of rules sought to prevent the intrusion of illegal money into election campaigns and to tackle corruption and influence peddling.
Maribel Jaen, director of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church, said that "political parties are not interested in transparency and do not want their resources for greater citizen participation in electoral processes."