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Thursday, October 18 2018 @ 06:15 PM UTC

Popular Party Calls for Judicial Reforms

PoliticsThe leaders of Panama Popular Party (PP)called upon Panamanian President Martin Torrijos to remove all sitting supreme court judges, and to replace them with "professionals." The Popular Party forms part of a political alliance with Martin's Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) to form a ruling majority in Panama's legislative branch, the National Assembly. An editorial in La Prensa that comments on this release from the PP ends with "...Torrijos has the majority, and only the will is lacking." In other words, if Torrijos announced tomorrow to sack the entire supreme court, there probably would not be much resistance. Background and History; When Panamanians rose up against Manuel Noriega and began a long process of street protests, there were basically three political parties at the point of the spear. First among these in size was ex-President Endara of the Arnulfista Party. The Arnulfistas historically are the right-leaning counter balance to leftists and socialist elements in Panamanian politics. Next in number was Billy Ford of the Molirena party. Molirena was the second largest political party forming the opposition to Manuel Noriega. Third in number were the Christian Democrats led by Calderon. The Christian Democrats are now known as the Popular Party.

The Popular Party often finds itself in the position of being the swing vote. The PRD can always count on getting a little more than a third of any vote, and they need an ally to form a majority in the assembly. The Popular Party holds enough seats to give the PRD the majority they need. This alliance has strengthened under Martin Torrijos, and the Popular Party now is pretty securely under the PRD's wing. This press release issued by the Popular Party was probably more than anything else just a reminder that they have a veto over whatever goes on in the assembly, and the leaders of the PP just wanted to remind everyone of their position and power.

Now, will Martin Torrijos do anything sudden or drastic against the Supreme Court justices (like sweep them all off the bench). I would rate that as unlikely but not completely out of the realm of possibilities.
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