By: Felipe Argote
Again the increasingly small circle of leaders of political parties and the electoral tribunal, along with a handful of representatives of social organizations have met to discuss reforms to the electoral system in Panama. I must say that as usual they are still missing, probably on purpose, in a sterile discussion, divorced from the interests of the general population. I heard the president of the election board authority say very enthusiastic that the meetings were discussing the philosophy of what a political party. The discussion was deep and rich, said the magistrate. This showed how mature is the Panamanian society, politically speaking, he argued. It is probable that he was so deep that the discussion would have to apply for a backhoe to dig a minimum of practical outcomes, on such waste of neurons. And would as would say the brilliant Argentine cartoonist named Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known as Quino: We as a society are mature, politically speaking ... for be eaten by whom... politically speaking.
I must stress that the method of choice is the genesis of the problem that elected politicians do not represent the best of society. I heard the chairman of the House of Assembly, referring to the scandal of the Social Investment Fund (FIS), now half-drowned amid the carnival party, that if they wanted to go to the province of Herrera and ask about the bags of food delivered by him with the budget for the FIS. That each and every one of the bags was delivered, therefore nobody could, accuse him of corruption. Is tuff to realize not only the level of cynicism, but of the very low scale of values of the most important politicians in Panama. According to the deputy, a billionaire shareholder of the largest manufacturer of liquor in our country, it is absolutely legitimate for him to take my money and all those who pay taxes to spend on food bags for delivery with his name and be benefit from the sympathy of voters in his electoral circuit. That what would be wrong is to keep the money and not deliver the food bag. Also a deputy of the party now in opposition indignantly asserts that the entire budget of the FIS that appears in his name was given in t-shirts, balls and all kinds of sporting goods, because he is a great supporter of sport in San Miguelito. Of course he is a great supporter of sport, with our money. Now we understand why after promising the end of the FIS in the election campaign, the new president say the good news he will better not close it, he will better restructure it because it benefits the neediest compatriots. Let’s get to continue the piñata!
While not specifically provided unambiguously that it is forbidden to politicians to directly or indirectly give money or any kind of perks, backed from the national treasury during any season, or not even their own assets until six months before the election period including the party primary. While these measures are not taken in the electoral reforms we will have candidates with the same profile as the current ones.
Some unsuspecting people ask why there is such a low level of participation of women as candidates of parties or their boards who cannot match the current trend that most professions are graduating more women than men. The answer is obvious: it is because decent people, including of course most women do not want to get involved in politics, because it discredits. Very few politicians, if any, have survived being personal vilification.
Then the reform commission, instead of philosophizing about what are the political parties and the immortality of the crab, the electoral reform commission should discuss urgently how noticeable change the rules of the electoral code, and in this way modify the profile of candidates and candidates. It's the only way to prevent in the short or medium term most of the citizen end up disenchanted altogether and simply not participate even with the right to vote. It is of course the only reason for the dismal of our political leaders, nor is the only reform needed, but you have to start there, because in the sense that things are going we will continue to suffer from the inability of Panamanian politicians.