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Panama

Yearbook 2018

Panama. According to Countryaah.com, the political temperature was significantly raised during the year ahead of the upcoming presidential election in May 2019. Several corruption scandals highlighted the transparency of the exercise of public authority.

2018 Panama

An "ethical pact" between several of the leading parties formed in mid-November was subjected to harsh criticism by Saúl Méndez, presidential candidate for the small left-wing party Front of Democracy (Frente Amplio por la Democracia, FAD), who said it was a arrangements to protect them from just transparency. The criticism was justified because the corruption scandal surrounding the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which became known in December 2016, involved the incumbent President Juan Carlos Varela himself.

At the end of October, it was also revealed that public funds of just over $ 13 million intended for the state sports institute Pandeportes instead went to organizations more or less directly linked to members of Congress and other politicians. The designated politicians belonged to both the ruling Panamist Party (PPA) and two opposition parties. Just before that, Congress had also approved a proposal that certain state institutions should be exempted from the scrutiny of state auditors. About the same time, preliminary investigation of Blue Apple Services' contacts with the government was initiated during the period 2011-12 and possible bribes of $ 40 million to have mediated contacts between construction companies and the government.

The Odebrecht scandal also cast its shadow over President Varela's appointments of two new members of the Supreme Court. The Congress, which is dominated by the opposition, said no to the candidates, citing suspicion of bickering. One of the candidates, Ana Lucrecia Tovar de Zarak, was active in Varela's 2014 election campaign, which put her impartial loyalty to the Constitution in question.

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