Panama Seeks to Cap Election Campaign Financing
SAN JUAN – The president of the Panama’s Electoral Tribunal (ET), Erasmo Pinilla warned lawmakers of the danger of not setting a limit to how much can be spent on electoral campaigns.
After the TE magistrates justified before de National Assembly’s Government Commission the decision by the National Commission on Electoral Reform (NCER) to approve a bill that caps campaign spending, Pinilla said the central axis of the bill is the use of private funding in politics.
“That is Panama’s political black box, and this bill clearly reveals it and sets fair ground rules for public financing so everybody will know how political parties and candidates are financed,” Pinilla said Tuesday.
It was agreed that the cost of production and distribution of political propaganda and advertising will be paid resources coming from public financing and will be subject to decisions from the TE. Meanwhile, funds from private donations can only be used for mobilization, transportation, food, and party caravans and rallies.
Pinilla highlighted the importance of the delegates to know that if they do not set limits to private financing, political activity in the country is going to become “exclusive for those with the most money and not to those with the best ideas.”
Pinilla also stressed the latent imminent danger of organized crime taking over politics in Panama.
“This could happen if there is no control over what we are proposing…. We have to make a patriotic call to the members of the National Assembly in the sense that no one doubts we hit the bottom during the last electoral cycle. The excesses justify we reflect and take measures that hav the future of the country, and of democracy, in mind,” Pinilla said.
The chairman of the Government Commission, Pedro Miguel González, announced that those interested in participating in the hearings may submit a written request via mail or email on or before Feb. 15.