In the face of widespread calls calls for the vetoing of the controversial electoral bill pushed through the National Assembly by deputies of the party he founded and leads, President Ricardo Martinelli wasted no time in endorsing the project.
It was signed on Monday September 17, two days after the third reading and two weeks of acrimonious debate and sometimes violent confrontation on the streets in front of the Assembly.
Vice president Juan Carlos Varela, leader of the opposition Panamanista Party, and a former coalition ally of Martinelli described the changes as a way to manipulate the outcome of the 2014 elections
Gerardo Solis, presiding judge, of the Electoral tribunal (ET) described the endorsement as " a lofty contempt of a social outcry with a unilateral government which echoes the President. "
Roberto Troncoso, president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede), regretted the decision because it came after the president arrived from a trip: "There was no analysis ... it was submitted and approved, " said the business leader and civic activist.
He stressed that the president ignored the project analysis of the ET.
Raisa Banfield, of the Front for the Defense of Democracy, said that Martinelli thinks that these reforms are the "lifeline of CD in 2014," but that the people will judge at the polls.
"CD has decided to assume the political cost because of the reforms," said Rep. Leandro Avila, of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).