Spanish version

ELECTORAL REFORMS

Subsidies for elections recommended to remain at 2014 levels

The amount is equal to 1 percent of government revenues.

Spanish version

Temas:

Despite opposition by civil societies, the country's main political parties have decided to keep the level of subsidies for general elections at 1 percent of government revenues.

The proposal was approved by the National Commission for Electoral Reforms, which will submit recommendations on changes to the electoral code to the National Assembly that will go into effect prior to the 2019 election.

The parties argued that keeping the subsidy the same in 2019 will discourage an influx of private donations. The group still has to discuss imposing limits on those donations.

The amount of the public subsidy is expected to be $100 million in 2019. In the 2014 election, that figure was $70 million.

Representatives of civil society to the commission said they felt "overwhelmed" by the political parties. They had been seeking a reduction in the subsidy to .5 percent, as well as strict limits on private donations.

There was an intense debate Thursday about the proposal, with the parties, which have a majority on the commission, prevailing.

Hugo Polo, a representative from the CD party, argued that the public funding is needed to ensure the parties survive, giving Panama a true democracy. he also said that the Tribunal Electoral should distribute the money.

"The TE demonstrated its capacity for independence and transparency during the last electoral process," he said.

Herbert Young, a representative of the Panameñista party, said that the subsidy will reduce the need for private donations.

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