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Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 08:39 PM EDT

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PRD Threatens Giselle Calcagno For Defecting

Politics Panama America - A few days before the upcoming national elections in Panama, Giselle Calcagno says she has received threats from the campaigns of the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD). "These threats are directed by a band that is none other than the campaigns of the PRD," said Calcagno. She added that the PRD's methodology is to make threats using the telephone. She said she is scared by these threats, as anyone would be. In as much, the candidate to the presidency for the PRD, Balbina Herrera, said the declarations are baseless. (See Comment)
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Panama's Leading Presidential Candidate Proposes Flat Tax

Politics By Inti Landauro BOGOTA (Dow Jones)--Panamanian businessman and free-marketeer Ricardo Martinelli, the leading presidential candidate, proposes to impose a flat tax system in the country if elected, his top economic adviser said in an interview. "We want to simplify the tax code because it will reduce the informal sector and tax evasion," Frank De Lima, Martinelli's top economic adviser, told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview. The flat tax rate, probably at between 12% and 17% for persons, with a full exemption for revenues below a certain level, and between 18% and 22% for companies, would have a neutral level on tax collection, he said. Currently corporate tax stands at 30% of profits in Panama. The Central American nation would be the first country imposing a flat tax system in Latin America. (more)
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Ricardo Martinelli - Coasting To A Win - Still Leading by 13%

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Golly, do you think Ricardo Martinelli is going to get something like 51% (+) of the vote next weekend? Take a look at the final polling results produced yesterday by TVN Channel 2 and Ditcher & Neira, and you can see the opposition candidate from the "Alliance for Change" movement, Ricardo Martinelli, is still pulling 51% support and leading the PRD candidate Balbina Herrera by 13%. These polling results and indications really have not varied all that much since January when the four major opposition parties merged into a grand opposition alliance. Balbina Herrera's fate was basically sealed at that point. I fully expect Ricardo Martinelli to win this election handily, and to receive about 55% to 60% of the votes cast in the actual election. If he does that, it will be the first time since in the post-dictatorship era that any democratically elected Panamanian president has won with more than 50% of the vote. The last to do it was Guillermo Endara in 1989 - and that election was more about voting to get rid of Manuel Noriega than it was about popular support for Endara.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Opposition Candidate Bosco Vallarino Now Leading PRD's Bobby Velásquez By 4% in Polls

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Yesterday TVN Channel 2 together with the polling company Dichter & Neira released what appears to be their last official polling results, now just nine days before the actual elections on 3 May 2009. The most interesting race has been that for the position of Mayor of Panama City, primarily between the PRD candidate Roberto "Bobby" Velásquez and the "Alliance for Change" candidate Bosco Vallarino. Both have have been dealing with their respective scandals - Bosco over his dual US-Panamanian citizenship and Bobby over an alleged $6 million dollar campaign donation called an "investment" supposedly made by jailed and accused money launderer Colombian David Murcia. The polling results released yesterday indicates opposition candidate Bosco Vallarino is now pulling 41% and is leading Bobby Velásquez in the polls for the first time. Velásquez is now pulling just 37% support, down from more than 50% a few months ago, thanks in no small part to the Murcia scandal. Velásquez is now in "Balbina territory" meaning he will apparently receive support at the polls only from those hard-core, fanatical, dyed-in-the-wool PRD supporters who will vote for the party's candidate, no matter what he or she might have done to deserve otherwise. Oh yeah, and as a side note Miguel Antonio Bernal, the "also ran" candidate, dropped from 17% to 14%, and he still has his standard "snowballs chance in hell" of winning this race.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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PRD Members Flocking To Support Ricardo Martinelli

Politics TVN Noticias - Just days before the national general elections in Panama on 3 May 2009, there are movements starting to arise within the political parties. On this occasion members of the ruling Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) announced their support for opposition candidate Ricardo Martinelli. Giselle de Calcagno, the Director of the Micro, Small, and Medium Business Authority (AMPYME) announced her support for Martinelli. According to Calcagno the PRD campaign has closed their doors and they have been wrapped in scandals, and in addition she said "it seems like we have returned to the times of Noriega." After the announcement, a group of PRD dissidents led by Calcagno went out to the streets, where they carried PRD flags and wearing campaign t-shirts from Martinelli's campaign, give clear voice to their support for the presidential candidate from the "Alliance for Change." (more) (See Comments)
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UNIMER Poll Shows Martinelli Leading Herrera by 11.6%

PoliticsBy ROLANDO RODRÍGUEZ B. for La Prensa - Opposition candidate Ricardo Martinelli is maintaining his advantage over this PRD rival Balbina Herrera who, however, is consistently continuing to attract more support. In this poll was conducted by the company Unimer, in which 1,600 people were a polled and which has a 2.5% margin of error, Martinelli is ahead of Herrera by 11.6%. Support for Martinelli has remained constant over the past few months, whereas Herrera has been slowly closing the gap in each successive poll. This poll was taken by means of a simulated vote using a ballot box, in which Guillermo Endara only received 3.8% of the votes cast. Another 2.1% of the votes cast were either blank votes or nullified. In another scenario, in which only those people who are totally decided were allowed to participate (1,204 participants with a margin of error of 2.8%) the results were similar: Martinelli received 50.2% and Herrera 38.3%, with a difference of 11.9% in favor of Martinelli. (There's one more paragraph here that's practically impossible to translate because it doesn't make any sense in either language. If anyone wants to take a shot at it be my guest.) This poll also included a sample to measure the vote among the candidates running for Mayor of Panama City. (See Comments)

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Panama's Political Season Winding Down

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Suffice it to say that practically everyone has had "enough" of the politics, already. The election is now less than two weeks away. Most people have already made up their minds and know who they are going to be voting for, so now it's just a matter of waiting until the actual day of the election to go and cast your vote. Of course, as "gringos" the great majority of English speaking expatriates living in Panama don't get a vote, but many people enjoy being able to follow the local political news and to have at least a partial clue as to what's going on. Now, the different news sources are talking about things such as "how to vote" with regards to actually marking the ballot, restrictions placed by the Electoral Tribunal and the Electoral Code on political advertisements once we get closer to the actual date of voting, and logistical things such as who is responsible for taking down all of the thousands of signs plastered all over the place. Finally, I'm sure there will be some more news between now and the election on the Murcia campaign donations to the PRD candidates, so just wait for that. And besides politics, all of the news is nothing but car wreck, some dude got shot, another car wreck, etc. Routine stuff...

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Former PTJ Chief José Ayú Prado To Investigate Bobby Velásquez Case

PoliticsBy Grisel Bethancourt for La Critica - Panama's Criminal Prosecutor José Ayú Prado will be assigned to investigate the supposed donations made by Colombian David Murcia Guzmán to Panamanian politicians. Panama's Solicitor General Ana Matilde Gómez met with her general staff and everything indicates she will decide on Monday to assign Ayú Prado as the primary investigator in the case. During the meeting the complexity of this kind of investigation was analyzed, which is why the primary option is for Ayú Prado, who is a former Chief of the PTJ, a former Anti-Drug Prosecutor, and a former prosecutor specialized in Intellectual Property should take charge of the case. The central point of the investigation will be to determine if Murcia did or did not give a suitcase filled with money to support the campaign of the PRD mayoral candidate. So far there has been a "tie" in the allegations. The former SPI agenst and Brazilian businessman Alexander Ventura Nogueira allege the suitcase was handed over; Ernesto Chong Coronado and mayoral candidate Roberto Velásquez deny that it happened. To make matters worse, the Chief of security for the Hotel Sheraton allege they do not have the videos from the day of the in which the meeting presumably took place.
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You Only Need 33% +1 In A Tight Three Dog Race...

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Man, I love politics. Thank God for politicians. And I don't know what's more entertaining - watching them do all of the silly crap they have to do in order to get elected, or watching them pull even more silly crap once they are in office. We are now less than three weeks away from the upcoming national elections in Panama, and by far the most interesting race is for the Mayorship of Panama City. There are three contenders in this race - Roberto "Bobby" Velásquez Abood, Bosco Vallarino, and Miguel Antonio Bernal. While none of the three are as clean as the driven snow, it now appears clear that going into the final days of campaigning there will actually be three solid candidates on the ballot, creating a scenario in which the eventually winner might be the guy who gets just 33% +1 of the votes cast. (more)

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Electoral Tribunal Gives Bosco Vallarino A Green Light

Politics By Leonardo Flore for La Prensa - The magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal decided in favor of opposition mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino, in the controversy surrounding his dual nationality. In their decision the magistrates argue the Electoral Tribunal is not the competent authority to determine the nationality and citizen's rights of Vallarino. The magistrates ordered the Civil Registry to review Vallarino's file. This decision is also valid for the cases of Norberto Testa, a candidate for councilman of Ancón for the Vanguardia Moral de la Patria political party, and Charles Garavitt, candidate for deputy of circuit 8-7 from the Unión Patriótica.
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Panama's Civil Registry Finds Bosco Vallarino Can Run for Mayor

Politics
Bosco Vallarino
Bosco Vallarino
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Early this morning Panama's Civil Registry issued a document saying that the "Alliance for Change" Mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino is a full-fledged Panamanian and that he can run as a valid candidate for the position of Mayor of Panama City. Yesterday afternoon the Electoral Tribunal basically punted responsibility, saying that the Civil Registry was the "competent authority" to determine such issues, and that their decision would be based on the findings of the Director of the Civil Registry. Back channel conversations tell me the PRD basically overplayed their hand on this issue and they were looking for a way to gracefully back away without having to remove Bosco as a candidate. Anyway, now it looks like sometime today the Electoral Tribunal will decide the issue, and off we go to the elections. It's always interesting around here during an election cycle.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panama's Civil Registry Will Decide Bosco Vallarino's Fate

PoliticsBy Denise Lara for Telemetro Noticias - The magistrates of Panama's Electoral Tribunal are said to be waiting for a report from the Director of the Civil Registry, Shannon Sinclair Dumanoir, where today they should confirm if Bosco Vallarino renewed or not his rights as a Panamanian citizen after having lived in Panama continuously for more than two years. Once this report is provided to the magistrates they will meet and decide the issue on the basis of the document presented by Dumanoir whether or not Vallarino can continue as a candidate for the position of Mayor of Panama City.
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Héctor Alemán - In Absolute Denial Over Polling Results

Politics
Héctor Alemán - PRD Campaign Manager for Balbina Herrera
Héctor Alemán - PRD Campaign Manager for Balbina Herrera

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Recently on the "Debate Abierto" morning television show, Héctor Alemán, PRD presidential candidate Balbina Herrera's campaign manager, charged people who support "Alliance for Change" candidate Ricardo Martinelli are manipulating recent polling results. He said the published polling results do not actually reflect the true intentions of Panamanian voters. He said in reality Balbina Herrera and Ricardo Martinelli are actually locked in a "technical tie." This statement, which he repeated several times on the show, indicates the PRD campaign is apparently in a state of absolute denial with regards to the actual polling results and their candidate's chances of achieving victory in the 3 May 2009 general national elections. If, that is, Héctor Alemán believes his own statements. He very well could have been simply making the statements out of political necessity while simultaneously knowing the truth. Ricardo Martinelli has maintained a lead of about 16% over Balbina Herrera, practically without any significant variation since late December or early January when Panameñista candidate Juan Carlos Varela joined Martinelli's ticket. In a few short weeks the four primary opposition political parties unified behind Ricardo Martinelli, practically sealing Balbina Herrera's fate. When asked about Héctor Alemán's statements, Ricardo Martinelli said "well, I don't really blame them for trying - they have to do something to keep hope alive, but on 3 May there we will be getting a Tsunami of votes, and they know it..." It should be noted January 2004 polling results accurately predicted the results of the May 2004 elections - giving 47% to Martin Torrijos and 30% to Guillermo Endara.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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No TVN Weekly Polling Results Coming Out This Week...

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Man, I feel like I'm missing a fix. This week TVN Channel 2 News and the polling company Ditcher & Neira are apparently not going to publish their weekly political polling results, most likely because last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week) and everyone was off in the interior, taking a short vacation. No matter, really. Nothing has changed all that much and no one really expects any great movements in the polls. The only really interesting race is for the Mayor of Panama City, with the associated controversies surrounding David Murcia and the supposed $6 million dollar "investment" in the campaign of Bobby Velasquez, along with the issue of Bosco Vallarino's dual nationality which might be decided by the judges of the Electoral Tribunal today. There are now just 19 days until the elections.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Want to Know Why Balbina Isn't Going to Win?

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - In Panama, Balbina Herrera is closely associated with former military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega, who has been in a US prison since 1989, convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking. The people who spent years protesting against Noriega calling for a return to democracy were called "civilistas" and at one point Balbina Herrera declared that all civilistas should basically be shot on sight ("civilista visto, civilasta muerto"). Although that was more than 20 years ago, today Panamanians who are old enough to remember link Balbina Herrera closely with Noriega and the fear his reign of terror inspired.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Photo Credit - Dealante.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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No Decision Today in Bosco Vallarino Case

Politics
Bosco Vallarino In Front of Electoral Tribunal
Bosco Vallarino In Front of Electoral Tribunal
By Getzalette Reyes for La Prensa - The magistrates of the Panama's Electoral Tribunal will not decide today the case regarding mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino and other candidates who are in danger of being removed from the ballot for the upcoming elections on 3 May 2009. This, according to Humberto Castillo, spokesman for the Electoral Tribunal, who said this afternoon the magistrates are analyzing all of the files carefully. Besides the case involving Vallarino, they are also studying the possible suspensions of the candidacies of Norberto Testa as councilman for Ancon for the Vanguardia Moral de la Patria party, and Charles Garavitt, a candidate for the National Assembly for circuit 8-7 for the Unión Patriótica party. Castillo added that the files regarding the candidates being investigated are very thick, and that the file on Vallarino is more than 50 pages. From tomorrow morning there should be some progress made in the investigations being carried out by the Electoral Tribunal, said the spokesman.
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Panama's Electoral Tribunal, Bosco Vallarino, and Democracy

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Panama's Electoral Tribunal, the special element of the Judicial branch that's supposed to ensure the fairness of the electoral and election process in Panama, is widely expected to make a decision either today or tomorrow regarding the issue of the candidacy of Bosco Vallarino, who is running for the position of Mayor of Panama City, and his status as a dual national (Panama-US). The electoral tribunal has made several decisions favoring the PRD lately with one notable exception - they stopped the administration of Martin Torrijos from running an avalanche of "look how good we've done" television and print ads, saying they were effectively spending taxpayer money to run ads in favor of Balbina Herrera. The world has not woken up to the elections in Panama yet, and only regular and astute Panama followers even know there's an election coming up in just 20 days. But this issue of the dual nationality of Bosco Vallarino will go a long way to color the international perception of relative fairness with regards to the Panamanian electoral process. At this point pretty much everyone is saying "let him run" because they expect Bobby Velasquez will beat him in the polls anyway. But, that's a risk. (more)

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Panama's Electoral Tribunal Could Decide Bosco Vallarino's Fate in 48 Hours

Politics
The Three Magistrates of Panama's Electoral Tribunal, Valdés, Solís and Pinilla
The Three Magistrates of Panama's Electoral Tribunal, Valdés, Solís and Pinilla
...

By Ereida Prieto-Barreiro for the Panama America - There are only 48 hours left before the three judges of Panama's Electoral Tribunal are expected to decide the future of the candidacy of Panama City mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino, initiating a fight over the votes between the opposition candidates who look to capitalize them just a few days before the elections. For political analysts Edwin Cabrera and Jaime Porcell, the opposition candidates will have their work cut out for them if the the Electoral Tribunal decides Vallarino can not run for Mayor and he is replaced on the ticket by Roxana Méndez, who is actually running as a substitute for the position of Vice Mayor on the "Alliance for Change" ticket. According to Cabrera, the outlook becomes uncertain because while Méndez is well-known among middle to higher class Panamanians, she does not have a level of recognition among the popular class of the electorate, whereas Miguel Antonio Bernal - in spite of having waged a fairly intense campaign - according to the polling results "he has not managed to capture the favor" of the majority of the voters. Meanwhile, Porcell does not share this opinion, although he indicated the scene is wide open and confused because Bernal could pick up some of the voters left behind by the departure of Vallarino. He also said Méndez could catch the voters who were leaning toward Vallarino, by painting Vallarino, who has been gaining recently in the polls, as a victim, or by appealing to the "sensible vote" of the Panameñista party. Cabrera thinks Ricardo Martinelli will be a fundamental element for the possibilities of the aspiring opposition candidates, because he will have to analyze very well who he will elevate as the candidate and who has the possibilities of winning. The analyst thinks it is "not very likely" that voters who were leaning toward Bosco Vallarino would switch their support towards the PRD candidate Bobby Velasquez, but the opposition can not count on that, because if they do not quickly define the panorama for undecided voters, this could end up being the "ace up the sleeve" of the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) to win this important position again.

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Bosco Vallarino's Legal Team Asks For TE Prez Pinilla To Be Removed

Politics
Erasmo Pinilla
Erasmo Pinilla
By KEMY LOO PINZÓN for La Prensa - The legal team for Panama City Mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino asked the judges of the Electoral Tribunal yesterday to declare the President of the Electoral Tribunal, Erasmo Pinilla, to be removed from the case involving Vallarino's dual nationality. The reason: In declarations made by Pinilla to the La Estrella newspaper on 3 April 2009, he said "if he accepted another nationality, then he cannot run for any party." In addition, the legal team, accompanied by Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, made statements in favor of Vallarino.
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Torrijos Administration Marketing Violated Electoral Law

Politics By ELIANA MORALES GIL for La Prensa - Members of the political opposition in Panama celebrated last night the decision by the Electoral Tribunal to suspend the further use of print and media advertisements being placed by three governmental ministries and eight other official organizations. Frank De Lima, of Ricardo Martinelli's "Alliance for Change" campaign, upon hearing the news, the first thing he said was "the Electoral Tribunal finally put their pants on." And, he said they have questioned the excessive advertising and media expenditures in the past few months to promote the actions of the government - and that excessive amounts of state funds are being spent. He said the government's intention with the propaganda avalanche was to benefit the presidential candidacy of Balbina Herrera. “One can see a similarity between the state propaganda and that produced by the candidate (Balbina Herrera)," he said. (more) (See Comments)
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Cast Your Vote Online in the Upcoming Panamanian Elections

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This is pretty cool. I received the following today via email: "Dear Don, Thank you for your blog, it really helps me keep track of what is happening in Panama, while I am here in Sweden. Since the election is coming up, I would like to send you this site since it might be of interest for you and your readers: http://www.theglobalelection.com/ballot.php?election_id=17. Best regards, Ola Rynge." From the Global Election website -

  • The world turns more and more international, decisions made by presidents and government in different nations affect the lives of citizens on all continents. The Global Election wishes the rest of the world to have a voice in the elections that matter to them, to be a channel for citizens around the world to express themselves and be counted.

  • Here you and your fellow world citizens can vote before the actual presidential or parliamentary election take place, you can read up on the different parties and discuss world politics in the forums. Everyone can vote!

  • How does it work? For every presidential or parliamentary election in the world, we will create an election here at The Global Election. 28 days prior to the election date, the ballot at The Global Election will open, and they will remain open for 19 days. While the ballots are open you can track the election standings here at The Global Election. We present the results based on the whole world, each continent, and by country. 2 days before the actual election of the specific country, the final result will be sent out to the candidates/parties, the press and to all of you that are subscribed to the newsletter or RSS feed or members of the political forum. It is a simple as that! Still have a question? Please check out our FAQ."

Pretty Cool Idea: So, this might be your one chance to cast a vote in this election, if you're a gringo like me with no say in the matter. I agree with Ola, and thought you might get a kick...

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Ricardo Martinelli Maintains 15% Lead in Weekly Polling

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - According to the weekly polling results published by TVN Channel 2 and conducted by the company Dichter & Neira, when asked "If the elections of 2009 were held today, for whom would you vote for President of the Republic?" - 51% supported Ricardo Martinelli, reflecting no change over last week's poll. Balbina Herrera received 36%, a 1% increase over last week. Endara dropped to 3%, and blank and null votes remain at 10%. Basically, these results have not changed significantly in about two months now. Surprisingly enough, there also was not much change in the Mayoral race for Panama City. Bobby Velasquez dropped one point to 42%, Bosco Vallarino held steady at 35%, and Miguel Antonio Bernal gained one point to 17%. Again, I don't trust these polling results very much because the sampling is designed to take a read at the national level, and the sample is relatively small for the Mayoral race. And, this contest is by far the most interesting at this point.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Electoral Prosecutor Requests TE to Invalidate Bosco Vallarino as Candidate

Politics By Dalilia Arciniegas for TVN Noticias - The Office of the Electoral Prosecutor asked the Electoral Tribunal this afternoon to declare Panameñista partly mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino as a nonsuitable candidate because he has dual citizenship (Panama and United States.) The prosecutor's office based their request on Article 13 of the Political Constitution where his rights as a Panamanian citizen are suspended and disqualifies him to run for office on 3 May 2009. According to the prosecutor's office, this investigation should be resolved by the Electoral Tribunal quickly, before the general elections of 3 May. Article 241 of the Electoral Code establishes that the substitutes will be qualified to hold the position of the primary person, in case the Electoral Tribunal should decide to disqualify the candidacy of Bosco Vallarino for the position of Mayor of Panama City. Upon learning of this request on the part of the Electoral prosecutor, Vallarino said in a press conference that he is a "victim of political persecution of the PRD". Vallarino reiterated he had to go to the United States to live in exile during the times of the military dictatorship because his life and those of his family members were in danger, and at the same time he said he is "a Panamanian born in Panamá. Defense lawyers for Vallarino will try to prevent the request filed today by the Electoral prosecutor from proceeding.
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Bosco Vallarino Denounces An "Ambush"

Politics
Bosco Vallarino
Bosco Vallarino
By Kemy Loo Pinzón and Getzalette Reyes for La Prensa - Bosco Vallarino, candidate for the Mayorship of Panama City, denounced that last Saturday he was the victim of an "ambush" prepared by Electoral prosecutor Borris Barrios, who called him in for a meeting to speak about his case but who at the same time had give instructions to his spokesman who called the press. In a press conference last Friday Vallarino revealed he had received a call from Barrios to arrange for an informal meeting on Saturday where they would deal with the subject of this supposed dual nationality. However, he said, as he went to the meeting he found out that the press had already been notified. That is why he did not attend the meeting. About his dual nationality, Vallarino denounced that his international rights contained in Suárez Doctrine, of which Panama is a signatory, are not being respected. He explained this doctrine establishes that “when a person acquires the nationality of another country, but later returns to his native country and restores his citizenship there, he automatically and tacitly resigns the other citizenship and accepts the original." “I left Panama and went to the United States because they were persecuting me, to kill me, my son and my wife… I was not on vacation," he said this morning on TVN Channel 2. This morning Vallarino went to the offices of the Electoral prosecutor to meet with Barrios but said "I could not find him." Later, Vallarino went to the Civil Registry. Defense lawyers for the candidate have said as well that the Electoral prosecutor is also asking for information from the various communications media where Vallarino has worked.
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Bosco Defends His Candidacy for Mayor of Panama City

PoliticsBy KEMY LOO PINZÓN for La Prensa - The "Alliance for Change" Mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino said yesterday he is prepared to renounce his US citizenship should that become necessary. But he says he tacitly already lost that nationality by exerting his Panamanian citizenship after returning from exile in the United States and having voted in the last three Panamanian elections. According to the former Electoral Tribunal magistrate Guillermo Márquez, from a moral and ethical point of view, Vallarino is inhibited from voting and from being elected, independent from the legal requirements. In his opinion there is a legal vacuum, because the Panamanian Constitution contemplates the "tacit" resignation of Panamanian nationality but there is no regulation indicating how it might be recovered. A source within the Electoral Tribunal said they would not start an official investigation into the possible absolute invalidity of Vallarino's candidacy or some other administrative process, if there is no formal complaint filed first. Miguel Antonio Bernal, Vallarino's adversary in this election for the Mayorship of Panama City, said Vallarino committed a very serious error because he ran for a position when he did not have the right, and that he did not say the complete truth when running for the position. In an interview with La Prensa, Vallarino did not make it clear how he obtained his US citizenship, nor what his next step will be, but he was emphatic in repeating that he did not lie. Vallarino criticized his political rival Roberto Velasquez Abood, for having failed to say he had met with David Murcia who is now in prison in Colombia, charged with money laundering, and who started a firestorm of controversy when he said he donated $3 million dollars to his campaign.
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Bosco Is A Gringo!

Politics By MARGGIE TREJOS for El Siglo - Mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino admits to being a foreigner. That's right, he has nationality from the United States and he's proud of it. He said it's not a crime to have two nationalities and he even considers it to be "a privilege.” Vallarino said he sought US citizenship out of necessity during the time of the military dictatorship in Panama when he was living in exile in the United States. Vallarino attributed any negative commentary on his status to his political adversary, PRD candidate Roberto “Bobby” Velasquez. “I believe the story and the negative commentaries that have been generated in public about whether I have dual nationality or not have come from my adversary, “Bobby Velasquez,” because he's been losing ground in the most recent polls and he wants to damage my image, but I understand what he's trying to do because he's desperate, but it's not going to work," said the candidate. He said he feels affection for president George Bush (father), because, according to him, his government protected him from the claws of Manuel Antonio Noriega. He explained that during the dictatorship his mother was kidnapped for 45 days and that thanks to the American government she was released and that they offered protection not only to her, but to many Panamanians at that time who were obligated to seek refuge in the United States and who, like him, were able to obtain US citizenship. Vallarino denied having voted in the US elections of 1996 or for having worked for one of the candidates during those elections (Clinton vs. Dole.) He said that although he has dual nationality, he has remained in his Mother Country of which he is very proud. (See Comments)
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Prosecutors Can Review Lists of Political Donations At The TE

Politics
Erasmo Pinilla
Erasmo Pinilla
By José Quintero De León for La Prensa The president of Panama's Electoral Tribunal, Erasmo Pinilla, said today they have already showed the Public Ministry lists of campaign donations from the different political campaigns available to that organization. With this Pinilla emphasized the lists of donors to political campaigns will remain in the safekeeping of the Electoral Tribunal, and prosecutors who are investigating the David Murcia case and the supposed donations to the campaigns of politicians should go to the Electoral Tribunal to review them there. To date only PRD candidate Balbina Herrera has presented the list to the TE.
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Balbina Herrera's Company Only Operated Four Months ($573,202 Ka-Ching!)

Politics By SANTIAGO FASCETTO for La Prensa - The company through which the presidential candidate for the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) political party, Balbina Herrera, acquired an indemnification from the Panamanian government for $573,202 last December was only in operation for four months. Why? It was closed by Customs and accused of contraband. On 13 May 1996 the See Buy & Sail Company obtained a license to operate a store selling varied merchandise inside of the port of Cristóbal. The business did not last long: on 10 September 1996 it was closed by the Regional Administrator of Customs in Colon, accused of having contraband foreign alcoholic beverages. (more)
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Martinelli Maintains 16% Lead over Balbina Herrera in Polls

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Man, I'm loving these weekly polls being produced by TVN 2 and Dichter & Neira. In this week's polling results, when asked "If the elections of 2009 were held today, for whom would you vote for President?" Ricardo Martinelli received 51%, picking up one point compared to last week's results. Balbina Herrera held steady at 35%, no change over last week. Guillermo Endara is up to 5%, and the blank and null votes make up the other 9%. The mayoral race is tightening up significantly. Bobby Velasquez from the PRD has dropped to 43%, and Bosco Vallarino is now up to 35%, closing the gap to just 8 points. The spoiler continues to be Miguel Antonio Bernal, who also picked up support and is now at 16%. An interesting note about the polling results for Panama City - they take a poll of 1,260 people for the national level results, but that means they only poll about 320 people to get the Panama City mayoral results, and they are significantly less accurate. Anyway, it still looks like the presidential race is all but locked up for Martinelli, and the Panama City mayor's race could get very interesting.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Elections, Security Top Concern for Panamanians

PoliticsPanama, Mar 29 (Prensa Latina) The upcoming May presidential elections and government´s initiatives to stop mounting crime rates are issues of top concern for the Panamanian people. A recent Ditcher and Neira survey showed opposition Alianza por el Cambio (Alliance for Change) presidential candidate Ricardo Martinelli (Alliance for Change) is keeping the lead, with 50% of voters intention. Ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) candidate Balbina Herrera´s voters intention increased to 35 percent after the March 17 public debate. Guillermo Endara (Moral Vanguard of the Homeland) is supported by 4 percent of potential voters, way down the leaders of the election campaign. The Election Court has taken actions to guarantee the logistics during the elections, including training national observers and testing the mechanisms before the elections. Meanwhile, President Martin Torrijos has stepped his anti-crime drive by increasing to 50 years the maximum prison term for convicted criminals using fire arms. Criminals who break into schools, archives, public establishments, churches or religious temples will be sentenced to four to six years in prison. The bill containing those modifications will be voted by Congress in the next few days, the president said.
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