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Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 04:27 PM EDT

Sessions Resume At The National Assembly

Law & LawyersBy DON WINNER for - Sessions have resumed at the National Assembly this morning, as Panama's lawmakers continue to debate the proposed changes to the Electoral Code contained in Bill 508, backed by the majority Cambio Democratico political party.

The President of the National Assembly Sergio Galvez spoke to reporters as he entered the building this morning, and he insisted the reforms would be passed. Galvez said there was a small group of about 70 paid agitators, mostly former employees of the municipal government who are members of the Panameņista party who worked for the former Panama City Mayor Bosco Vallarino, and he blamed these people for causing the problems and violence yesterday afternoon.

With regards to the proposed reforms themselves, Galvez said Deputies from the Panameņista party have submitted a list of proposed changes or modifications to the law itself, so therefore they are supporting and participating in the process.

Riot control police officers have been deployed inside of the grounds of the National Assembly building, and they have formed a protective perimeter in order to prevent protesters from forcing their way into the building in an attempt to disrupt the debates. Yesterday about five protesters were arrested when they were involved in violent incidents outside of the National Assembly building, and it was reported that all of those arrested were supporters of the Cambio Democratico party who are in favor of the reforms being considered.

Notably absent from the protests outside of the National Assembly is the PRD's Juan Carlos Navarro. A few weeks ago when there were similar protests, Navarro arrived with a large entourage of his supporters and he led the attack on the gates of the Assembly, breaking their way into the public viewing stands to protest. This time around, Navarro has since been elected as the General Secretary of the National Executive Committee of the PRD, and he is the presumptive presidential candidate for the party, so he has not personally participated in the protests. Nor has there been a contingent of protesters who are clearly PRD, with the exception of a handful of desperate politicians in descent, who are hungry to get their faces on television cameras for any reason, such as Balbina Herrera.

At this point it has become perfectly clear the CD is going to adopt these reforms to the Electoral Code no matter what happens either inside or outside of the National Assembly building.

It's also apparently that the CD decided to put the loud mouthed and combative Sergio Galvez in the President's chair of the National Assembly, exactly because they knew these types of conflicts and drama would be coming as they pushed these reforms forward. Galvez actually thrives in this sort of an environment, and he's not very good when things are calm and cool and normal and not explosive. It seems like the protesters have pretty much blown their wad, and maybe they have reached the obvious conclusion that they are not going to be able to stop the CD from passing these reforms in the National Assembly. Let's see how the rest of the day develops.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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