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Wednesday, April 16 2014 @ 11:53 PM EDT

Government Stiff-Arms Advisory Council

PoliticsThe government of President Ricardo Martinelli was elected to govern until 2014, so the decision maker is the government. With such confidence responded Deputy Jose Munoz when he was asked about the issues that were sent to the Coalition, specifically on the sale of land in some areas of the country, an initiative rejected by the members of this group and civil society. According to Muņoz, although the government has much respect for the National Coalition, in the end it is the government that will be making the decisions on the issues discussed in this forum.

Due to the past incidents in the National Assembly over the sale of state owned shares in joint ventures, and the appointment of judges of the Fifth Chamber, the President decided to send these issues to the National Coalition for discussion. On 22 June, the Coalition agreed to reject the proposal to sell state owned shares in the electrical companies and the Cable & Wireless telecommunications company, as well as the lands of the Free Zone of Colon and on Amador.

On this subject, Martinelli said yesterday the Coalition is an advisory body, and their advice is not binding on the decisions adopted by the government.

Munoz said on TVN Noticias they hope the Coalition would reach a consensus, and he indicated the government would be looking for the needed resources, referring to the $400 million dollar budget shortfall arising from the failure to sell the state owned shares.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima has admitted there will be a $400 million dollar shortfall in the budget, because when the budget for 2012 was created, which was submitted in July 2011, the government's plan at the time was to sell the state owned shares and they anticipated the sale would have generated about $400 million dollars in new revenue. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Recently, and increasingly, members of Martinelli's cabinet and president Ricardo Martinelli himself have been using the expression, in Spanish, of "co-gobernar" (co-govern). Meaning, there are all kinds of groups and organizations out there who were not elected, but for some reason they seem to think that they have a better plan on how to run things, and they want to "co-govern" with the elected officials. They try to take over or somehow usurp power from the government, and they use the news media outlets to manipulate the government into doing what they want. Obviously the opposition politicians of the PRD and Panameņista political parties are the two most guilty of this, because they literally want to take over Martinelli's job. However there are other groups and organizations out there who would also try to impose their will on the government.

For example now this "Citizen's Pro-Justice Alliance" are trying to create pressure against the President of the Supreme Court, Moncada Luna, and they're pissed over the way the whole Fifth Chamber thing went down. They think they can file a lawsuit or a complaint to try to get him thrown off of the bench. In reality they are just creating headlines for political reasons. There are literally dozens of little special interest groups - sort of like lobbyists in the United States - who push or pull this direction or that - in trying to get the best result for their own little special interest group. It might be school teachers, or construction workers, or business leaders, or (whatever.) Just remember that none of those guys were elected by the people of Panama to do anything. They know how to hold a meeting, issue a press release, march down the street and hold signs, or whatever. And in this article the government is starting to stiff arm these kinds of people a little, saying "thanks for the advice, but we've got it from here." Good call.

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