Monday, August 20 2012 @ 09:05 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
During an interview on the channel 2 TVN morning news, Torrijos said it has been an aspiration of civil society to allow for independent candidates to run for the position of President of the Republic, but it should not be allowed as a strategy to weaken and divide the opposition, to allow the (CD) government candidate to win the election. According to the president, in a contest where there are five candidates, it's possible that one candidate can win with just 20% of the vote.
The PRD's Situation - Torrijos said the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) is not having a problem of unity, but rather a problem of identity. He said those who want to aspire to elected office should not hold a position within the group, so that what happened during his administration does not happen again. "This is not a question of 'it's my turn.' When the party just thinks of itself and not in the society we lose the objective. We cannot win alone, we need the rest of society that believes in the project," he said.
CEMIS Case - Torrijos said the CEMIS case is political because they are using justice as a political instrument in reopening the case. He said his rights have been violated because he was called to trial without him having made a statement in the case. Torrijos said the creation of the CEMIS occurred during the government of Mireya Moscoso.
Moreover, he clarified that he does not have an alliance with the Vice President, Juan Carlos Varela. "I met with Varela in the same way as I can meet with anyone else from the civil society," he said. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: First of all, the reason for this appearance by Torrijos was to attempt to shore up the "TOCOMA" side in the internal PRD elections. Juan Carlos Navarro and his "Blue Tide" side is winning most of the smaller local internal party elections, leading up to their big convention to be held on 26 August 2012. At that election it looks like Navarro is going to be elected as the next General Secretary of the PRD, and from there he will run in a party primary to be nominated as the party's official presidential candidate. In this television appearance Torrijos is saying that the Secretary General of the party should not run for office. An amazing statement, because Navarro is repeating exactly the same path taken by Martin Torrijos - first win control of the National Executive Committee (CEN) and then become the party's candidate. Torrijos supports the other side in this internal fight, which is losing to Navarro. One of their primary arguments is that supposedly Navarro is working either with or for Ricardo Martinelli. Hence, the headline.
With regards to the electoral reforms, the CD wants to revoke the changes made by the PRD while they were in power, which currently tilt the elections in their favor. Of course anyone in the PRD is going to be opposed to these reforms, because they want to keep their unnatural advantage. It's no surprise to hear Torrijos speaking out against the proposed reforms.
With regards to independent candidates, Torrijos knows exactly what's going to happen. There will be candidates popping up from the extreme left wing fringe elements that will take votes away from the PRD, which will weaken their chances of winning. Now, if there were a second round of voting then this problem would go away. You could have the first round with ten candidates, and then a run off between the two who received the most votes. But the PRD opposed that reform. Maybe they would like to change their minds now? The PRD is in a dilemma because the only way they can win is if the non-PRD votes are split. The PRD can only muster about 35% to 40% or so. When the CD joined forces with the Panameñistas they won with about 60% of the vote. Now going into 2014 the Panameñistas are greatly weakened, the MOLIRENA is greatly strengthened and will be in an alliance with the CD. That leaves the PRD all alone with the very weak Popular Party in a three dog race. And in that formula, the PRD comes in second. Their chances are even weaker if the field is opened up to two or three independents. The CD wants to have independent candidates, because they know a guy like Saul Mendez would take votes away from the PRD, and a guy like Juan Carlos Tapia would take votes away from the Panameñistas.
About the CEMIS case, defense lawyers representing Martin Torrijos have submitted about seven different motions in order to try to slow down the process in this case. He has not been called to testify, because his lawyers have done everything in their power to keep that from happening. So now on this television interview Torrijos laments about how he is being called to trial, without having been given the chance to make a statement or give his version of events. And, he said it with a straight face. And, Castalia Pascual didn't hit him with a massive "WTF?" in the middle of the interview. I would have stopped him cold and bounced him on the facts of the case and history. He buried the CEMIS case for five years while he was in office, and it only came back to the courts after the PRD left office. The fact of the matter is - the evidence seems to indicate strongly that PRD lawmakers were paid bribes to vote in favor of the project, and the person who ran the whole show was Martin Torrijos - this; according to the prosecutor's opinion as filed in the Supreme Court.