Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Controversy surrounds re-election of José Ayú Prado

President Juan Carlos Varela said the decision is the sole responsibility of the Supreme Court.

He was supported by the two newest members of the court, Cecilio Cedalise and Ángela Russo.

Spanish version

Temas:

The re-election of José Ayú Prado as chief justice of the Supreme Court has generated a great deal of controversy.

Magaly Castillo, of the Citizen's Alliance for Justice, said the decision was a "mockery" of justice due to the corruption investigations that marred his previous term. In that period, two judges left the court due to corruption investigations, and one is serving a five-year sentence after pleading guilty.

Castillo said it is "shameful" that the leadership of the court also includes Hernán De León (deputy chief justice) and Luis Ramón Fábrega (chairman of the Third Chamber), as they were all appointed by former President Ricardo Martinelli.

Former Justice Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño described the choice as "unfortunate," while Maribel Jaén, of the Justice and Peace Commission, said that the election results have done little to restore confidence in the judiciary.

"With so much mistrust that has citizenship had in the court, re-electing the current chief justice seems to be a contradiction," said Annette Planells of the 

Independent Movement.

Ayú Prado will serve a two-year term. He was appointed to the court in 2013 by Martinelli, and elected chief justice the next year. In addition to his own vote, he was supported by the two newest members of the court, Cecilio Cedalise and Ángela Russo, and by De León and Fábrega.

He defeated Harry Díaz, who was supported by Abel Zamorano, and  Oydén Ortega, who was nominated by Jerónimo Mejía.

The chief justice said he was surprised by the result and did not expect to serve a second consecutive term.  

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