Learn more

composite
41
41

Panama

In law
47
In practice
43

In law and in practice, Panama provides public funding for parties during election campaigns. Free airtime on public media is also provided. Though the law bans the use of non-financial state resources during campaigns, during the 2014 campaign, the government took advantage of numerous such resources. There are few restrictions on contribution and expenditure. Individual donations are not limited, and electoral spending is likewise uncapped. In terms of reporting, parties are required to submit quarterly financial reports outside of elections, and both parties and candidates must submit post-election reports. In practice, many candidates failed to submit the financial reports required by law after the 2014 elections. Those that did, however, typically included a fully itemized list of their contributors. Very little political finance information is available to the public. Third party actors exert some influence in Panamanian elections, but are not regulated in law. The Electoral Tribunal is responsible for the oversight of political finance issues. In practice, not all three members of the Tribunal were appointed based on merit, but their independence is largely guaranteed. It has most of the staff and budget it needs to carry out its functions. Nevertheless, in practice, the Tribunal did not perform any investigations in 2014, and it rarely sanctions parties and candidates that fail to submit the reports required by law. Deficits in transparency and enforcement inhibit the strength of Panama's political finance regime.

  • expand button!

    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

    More about category
    composite
    87
    • expand button!
      Direct Public Funding
      More about category
      • expand button!
        1
        Score
        YES
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Article 141 of the Constitution stipulates that "the State can monitor and contribute to the campaign expenses of political parties and candidates. Public funding shall be regulated by law, ensuring that contributions to all parties and candidates are distributed on an equal basis". Pursuant to the constitutional provision, it is specified in the Electoral Code, article 179, that "the State shall contribute to the expenses incurred by political parties and independent candidates participating in the general elections".

        According to article 182 (1), the authority in charge of distributing the public funding is the Electoral Tribunal. "For each general election, an amount equal to 1% of the current revenues from the central government budget shall be reserved in the budget of the Electoral Tribunal corresponding to the year immediately prior to elections" (Electoral Code, art. 180).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Constitución Política de la República de Panamá de 1972 (versión actualizada)” / Constitution of 1972 (updated version), Art. 141. Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/cendoj/cendojfields/constitucion-politica/ or http://www.asamblea.gob.pa

        2. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 179, 180, 182 (1). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        2
        Score
        YES
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        "In order to be entitled to public funding, registered political parties and independent candidates are required to formally inform the Electoral Tribunal about their intention to participate in the electoral process and receive public funding, no later than 30 days after the beginning of the electoral period" (Electoral code, article 181). Therefore, the eligibility criteria are inclusive and clearly defined in the law.

        The law also provides with a detailed description of the mechanism to determine the direct public funding allocations, which combines the principles of equality and proportionality. Public funding for political parties is divided in two parts: 40% is allocated before the election, while the remaining 60% is allocated after the election (Electoral Code, article 182). Before the election, all eligible political parties receive a fixed contribution, regardless of their power base or popular support. One fourth of this amount (10% of the total public funding) is allocated to cover the expenses incurred for the selection and nomination of candidates to all elected offices [Electoral Code, article 182 (A-2.1)], while the remaining three fourths (30% of the total public funding) are aimed to cover the cost of campaign advertising. Political parties need to submit receipts and documents supporting these expenses, in order to claim public contributions [Electoral Code, article 182 (A-2.2)].

        After the election, an amount equal to 20% of the total public funding is distributed equally among political parties in order to help them cover the costs of their premises [Electoral Code, article 182 (B-2.1)]. The remaining 40% is distributed according to the total number of votes obtained by each political party during the presidential, parliamentary and local elections [Electoral Code, article 182 (B-2.3)]. These disbursements shall be made in equal quarterly installments over a period of five years and at least 10% of these funds shall be used for the implementation of activities aiming at political empowerment of women [Electoral Code, article 182 (B-2.2 and 2.4)].

        Independent candidates are also entitled to public funding before and after the election. Each independent candidate formally registered before the Electoral Tribunal shall receive an initial amount of US$0.50 for every citizen supporting his/her nomination [Electoral Code, article 182 (A-1)]. After the election, independent candidates shall receive an amount proportional to the number of votes obtained. This disbursement shall be made in a single payment [Electoral Code, article 182 (B-1)].

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 181 -182. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        3
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        The financial reports and the information published on the official website of the Electoral Tribunal reveal that the allocation of direct public funding to political parties and independent candidates is determined according to an equitable and transparent mechanism which is consistently applied for each electoral process, without exception. This was also confirmed by the National Financial Secretary of the People's Party - one of the two parties forming the newly elected coalition government - who has been interviewed for the purpose of this research (see Source 3). The report on public funds distributed to political parties during the period 2009 – 2014 (see Source 1) provides with detailed information on the disbursements made to each political party before and after elections. In addition, the Electoral Tribunal’s official website contains a description of the mechanism used to calculate the amount of public funds to which each political party and independent candidate is entitled.

        For the period 2014 – 2019, the total direct public funding is US$69.8 million, which will be distributed among the 6 legally established political parties and the independent candidates (see Source 4). The Electoral Tribunal announced that each political party would receive an amount equal to US$4,66 million before the 2014 general elections and listing the 6 parties that were eligible for public funding (see Source 5). Independent candidates running for all types of elections were also allocated public funds in proportion to the number of supporters they had registered (see Sources 6 and 7). 70 days after the 2014 general elections, the Electoral Tribunal also distributed the post-electoral public funding to the eligible independent candidates (see Sources 8 and 9). Finally, the Electoral Tribunal published the amounts and calculation mechanism of the post-electoral public funding for the period 2014 - 2019 which will be distributed to each of the 5 political parties that obtained seats in parliament (see Source 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal, Official Website – Reports on public funds allocated to political parties for the period 2009-2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        2. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement on the amount of the post-electoral public funding for the period 2014-2019, published on 18 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1854&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=5b743bc69365513a211cd224fe75eeed

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        4. “$69.8 millones para los seis partidos políticos legalmente constituidos”/ $69.8 million for the six legally established political parties. By Lucy Garcés, PANAMA DECIDE, 24 October 2013. Available at: http://panamadecide.com.pa/69-8-millones-para-los-seis-partidos-politicos-legalmente-constituidos/

        5. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE fija monto de financiamiento público pre-electoral", published on 3 February 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=17&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1655&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=d1c0f5bf8c98a2b8fa73442418c730af

        6. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE entrega financiamiento público a candidatos por la libre postulación de Panamá Centro", published on 18 March 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=11&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1724&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=d0ad23ed9a008e1be990ce230c28580a

        7. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE entrega financiamiento público preelectoral a candidatos independientes", published on 26 February 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=14&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1694&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=a235fc6c2cc8a42b76486c4d80e3937f

        8. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE inicia entrega de financiamiento postelectoral a candidatos independientes elegidos", published on 17 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1852&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=7b8f4a101b86e0647b75abc6e9049048

        9. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "Entregarán el financiamiento público postelectoral a los que compitieron por la libre postulación", published on 15 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1849&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=205f6e44d441800f38ee26ec2f4b5017

      • expand button!
        4
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Since 1999, the Electoral Tribunal publishes on its website reports and information on the amounts and the calculation mechanisms used to determine pre-electoral and post-electoral public funding allocated to political parties and independent candidates (see Sources 1 and 3).

        Thus, for the 2014 general elections, the Electoral Tribunal announced that each of the 6 registered political parties would receive pre-electoral public funding equal to US$4,66 million (see Source 4). Independent candidates running for all types of elections were also allocated pre-electoral public funding in proportion to the number of supporters they had registered (see Sources 5 and 6). 70 days after the 2014 general elections, the Electoral Tribunal also distributed the post-electoral public funding to the eligible independent candidates according to the votes obtained by them (see Sources 7 and 8). With regard to the post-electoral public funding to political parties for the period 2014-2019, the Electoral Tribunal published the specific amounts, including their calculation mechanism, no more than 75 days after the election (see Source 2). The information on the pre-electoral and post-electoral public funding to independent candidates was published no more than two days after the disbursements were made.

        More specifically, the Electoral Tribunal announced that 5 political parties were eligible to receive post-electoral public funding. All of them shall equally receive US$1,69 million aimed to cover the costs of their premises. Additionally, according to the number of votes obtained, the Revolutionary Democratic Party (“Partido Revolucionario Democrático”) shall receive US$10,78 million, the Democratic Change Party (“Partido Cambio Democrático”) US$9,81 million, the Panamanian Party (“Partido Panameñista”) US$8,02 million, the “Molirena” party US$2,57 million and the People’s Party (“Partido Popular”) US$1,94 million. These funds shall be delivered in quarterly disbursements thoughout the period 2014 - 2019 (see Source 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal, Official Website – Reports on public funds allocated to political parties for the period 2009-2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        2. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement on the amount of the post-electoral public funding for the period 2014-2019, published on 18 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1854&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=5b743bc69365513a211cd224fe75eeed

        3. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        4. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE fija monto de financiamiento público pre-electoral", published on 3 February 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=17&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1655&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=d1c0f5bf8c98a2b8fa73442418c730af

        5. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE entrega financiamiento público a candidatos por la libre postulación de Panamá Centro", published on 18 March 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=11&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1724&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=d0ad23ed9a008e1be990ce230c28580a

        6. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE entrega financiamiento público preelectoral a candidatos independientes", published on 26 February 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=14&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1694&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=a235fc6c2cc8a42b76486c4d80e3937f

        7. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "TE inicia entrega de financiamiento postelectoral a candidatos independientes elegidos", published on 17 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1852&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=7b8f4a101b86e0647b75abc6e9049048

        8. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement: "Entregarán el financiamiento público postelectoral a los que compitieron por la libre postulación", published on 15 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1849&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=205f6e44d441800f38ee26ec2f4b5017

    • expand button!
      Indirect Public Funding
      More about category
      • expand button!
        5
        Score
        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        According to the electoral code [art. 392 (6)], illegal use of state resources or assets in favor or against a candidate or political party constitutes and electoral offence and is punishable with imprisonment for six months to three years, suspension of civil rights and disqualification from public office for one to three years.

        However, the electoral code permits the equitable use of certain state resources by all parties. For instance, it establishes direct public funding distributed to all parties and individual candidates according to equal and transparent criteria (art. 179-182), as well as equitable airtime on the state-owned media (art. 191). Apart from that, political parties are entitled to free telephone services and a 50% discount on the electricity rates in their permanent headquarters (art. 192). They are also exempt from taxes for the import of up to five vehicles and 5 sets of sound or communications amplification systems every four years (art. 193). Finally, the facilities bought by political parties for the placement of their offices are exempt from property tax (art. 188). Any other use of state resources besides the exemptions mentioned above is considered illegal.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 392 (6), 188, 192 - 193. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        6
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The use of state resources in order to favor the government party and attack opposition candidates during the 2014 elections, was reported by various actors, including international election observers, opposition parties, civil society organizations and the media. During the pre-electoral period (January - December 2013), the Electoral Prosecutor (“Fiscalia Electoral”) registered a total of 47 complaints for unlawful use of state resources or assets (see Source 2). Complaints against the government party are still being investigated and no decision has been issued yet (see Source 3).

        There were various reports accusing the government party for abusing state assets in order to attack opposition candidates. This was the case of the National Authority of Land Administration (ANATI) taking aerial photographs of opposition candidates’ properties without authorization and publishing them on a newspaper owned by the incumbent president (see Source 4). Furthermore, the opposition candidates and the press presented documents and evidence of a call center operating in favor of José Domingo Arias, the presidential candidate of the government party. According to these claims, the call center operations were financed with funds coming from the National Assembly, managed by the director of the Panamanian Turist Authority and coordinated by the former director of the National Immigration Service (see Source 5).

        There were also many claims that the government party used the inauguration of 3 major public works (the Panama Metro, the extension of the coastal belt road and the inauguration of the Maracaná Stadium) as a way to promote its candidates (see Sources 6 and 8). In this regard, the Vice President of Transparency International Panama points out that the law contains no specific regulation regarding the announcement of the inauguration of public works for the purposes of electoral propaganda. As a result, the media messages on the inauguration of public works could not easily be distinguished from the campaign messages of the government party, as they appeared to have the same content and style. In addition, the Vice President of Transparency International Panama notes the use of state resources by high-level civil servants who were running as candidates (see Source 1).

        Finally, it is important to mention that, six months before the elections, the government passed a law giving civil servants who had been continuously employed for two years, permanent status and benefits. This initiative was considered by many as a way to ensure that civil servants of the incumbent government would keep their positions after the elections and would vote for the government party (see Sources 1 and 7).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources
        1. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        2. Official Website of the Electoral Prosecutor – Statistics on electoral complaints during the preelectoral period January – December 2013. Available at: http://fiscalia-electoral.gob.pa/fiscalia/?q=estadisticas

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        4. "Campaña del Estado para promover a Arias"/ Government campaigns in order to promote Arias. By Luis Burón-Barahona, LA PRENSA, 14 December 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/campana-del-estado-promover-arias/243479

        5. “Supervisor señala que ‘call center’ de CD es financiado por la Asamblea” / Suprevisor notes that Democratic Change’s (“Cambio Democratico”) call center was financed by the National Assembly. By Luis Burón Barahona, LA PRENSA, 29 April 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/uhora/ruta-2014/call-center-denuncias-elecciones/317017

        6. Organization of American States, Election Observation Mission to the 2014 General Elections - Press Release, 5 May 2014. Available at: http://www.oas.org/es/centronoticias/comunicadoprensa.asp?sCodigo=C-186/14

        7. "Aprueban proyecto que da permanencia y derecho a indemnización a funcionarios"/ Bill giving civil servants permanent positions and compenation rights was approved. By Francisco Javier Cedeño, TELEMETRO, 28 December 2013. Available at: http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/polemico-proyecto-estabilidad-servidores-publicos0656334659.html

        8. “Tercer Informe de Observacion Electoral 24 de Abril 2014” / Third Election Observation Report, 24 April 2014, p. 6. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

      • expand button!
        7
        Score
        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The Electoral Code (art. 191) states that political parties shall have equitable access to public media in order to broadcast electoral campaign messages, debates and any other political events. The conditions for the use of public media shall be regulated by the Electoral Tribunal. The law does not establish any eligibility restrictions and thereofore, all political parties and independent candidates registered for elections are entitled to free airtime.

        In light of this provision, the Electoral Tribunal issued the Decree No. 7 of 13 March 2013 regulating the general elections of 4 May 2014. Article 104 of this decree stipulates that, during the electoral campaign period (6 January - 1 May 2014), the State System of Radio and Television (SERTV) must reserve two hours per day, Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm. This airtime shall be allocated to registered political parties and independent candidates free of charge.

        In particular, political parties and independent presidential candidates shall have access to 30 minutes daily each, from Monday till Thursday [art. 104 (1)]. The order of the parties and candidates using this airtime shall be determined randomly. On Fridays, 30 minutes shall be distributed to the Electoral Tribunal and to each group of registered independent candidates participating in the parliamentary or local elections [art. 104 (2)].

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 191. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 7 de 13 de marzo de 2013, por el cual se reglamentan las Elecciones Generales del 4 de mayo de 2014” / Decree No. 7 of 13 March 2013 regulating the General Elections of 4 May 2014, Art. 104. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=841

      • expand button!
        8
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        During the 2014 general elections, the Electoral Tribunal, in compliance with the law, allocated equal free airtime to every registered political party and individual candidate on the state-owned radio and TV stations. Thus, from 6 January till 1 May, parties and independent candidates were entitled to free airtime of 30 minutes daily for campaign purposes. The ranking of the parties and candidates was determined by a drawing of lots.

        This resulted in the People’s Party (“Partido Popular”) appearing on Mondays from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m., followed by the “MOLIRENA” party from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m., while the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) was allocated free airtime from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. and the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD) from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.. On Tuesdays, the Democratic Change party (“Cambio Democratico”) presented its political program from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m., the Panamanian Party (“Partido Panameñista”) from 10:30 – 11:00 a.m., the People’s Party from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. and the “MOLIRENA” party from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.. On Wednesdays, the following parties were assigned free airtime: PRD (10:00-10:30 a.m.), FAD (10:30-11:00 a.m.), Democratic Change (6:00-6:30 p.m.) and Panamanian Party (6:30-7:00 p.m.). Independent presidential candidates received free airtime on Thursdays, while Fridays were reserved for independent candidates running for parliamentary and local elections (see Source 4).

        However, as the interviewed sources and national observers point out (see Sources 1, 2 and 3), the vast majority of the media in Panama are private, while the state owns only a TV and a radio station. The private media signed an Electoral Ethical Pact, with the intention to prevent abuses, and maintained airtime prices equal for every political party and candidate (see source 5). However, given the absence of legal restrictions and limits on the use of private media, the biggest political parties were able to spend high amounts of money on campaign spots, allowing them to make extensive use of private airtime. On the other hand, smaller parties and some independent candidates were limited to the free public airtime.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources
        1. “Primer Informe de Observacion Electoral, 13 de Enero 2014” / First Election Observation Report, 13 January 2014. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        4. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement on free broadcast time distribution to political parties and independent candidates: "Para divulgar sus propuestas electorales los partidos políticos tendrán espacio gratuito en SERTV", published on 26 December 2013. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=21&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1601&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=a44973b04c176f7a79c0af9dd440dacc

        5. “Pacto Etico Electoral 2014” / Electoral Ethical Pact 2014, signed by political parties, civil society, the media and electoral authorities. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=922

  • expand button!

    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

    More about category
    composite
    17
    • expand button!
      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
      More about category
      • expand button!
        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        There is no explicit prohibition regarding cash contributions in the law. Article 1 (1) of the Decree No. 38 of 2004 only requires that "political parties deposit and manage all private contributions they receive for the financing of their regular and campaign activities, exclusively through a special bank account opened for each of these purposes". This legal obligation also applies to presidential and parliamentary candidates, as well as candidates running for mayors of the provincial capitals and representatives at the Central American Parliament [Art. 2 (3)].

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 1(1) and 2 (3). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        10
        Score
        NO
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        Article 190 (2) of the Electoral Code prohibits anonymous donations or contributions to political parties or candidates. The only exception to this ban is the case of anonymous contributions collected in public fundraising activities. Although the law stipulates that such contributions shall be regulated by the Electoral Tribunal, no specific regulations or instructions have been issued in this regard.

        Art. 190: "The following donations or contributions to political parties and candidates are banned: 2) Anonymous donations or contributions, except those originating from public fundraising activities, which shall be regulated by the Electoral Tribunal."


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. There is no limit to the amounts that can be donated through a public fund raising activity, just as there is no limit on the amounts that can be donated or spent in a political campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190 (2). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        11
        Score
        YES
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Article 1 of the Decree No. 38 of 2004 stipulates that “political parties must submit to the Electoral Tribunal, no later than April 1 of each year, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, duly certified by an authorized public auditor. This report must include the origin and purpose of all private contributions received for the parties' operating activities. The commercial value of in-kind donations and donations of services provided to the parties must be specified by the donors in a sworn statement.”

        Political parties and candidates participating in elections must also “submit to the Electoral Tribunal, within 90 days after the election, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, including the origin and purpose of all private contributions received for the electoral campaign” [Art. 3 (3)]. This provision does not explicitly mention the obligation to report in-kind contributions for electoral campaigns. However, according to the reading of article 1, the term “contribution” includes any type of donations such as financial and in-kind contributions, checks and services. The same is understood by the Electoral Tribunal, which requires candidates to report all private contributions they receive for their electoral campaigns, specifying whether these were financial contributions, in-kind donations, checks or services (see Source 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 1 and 3. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        2. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Forms for reporting private contributions received for the general elections of 4 May 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        12
        Score
        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Loans to political parties and candidates are not regulated.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

    • expand button!
      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
      • expand button!
        13
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There are no limits on the amount an individual or legal entity can contribute to political parties or candidates. However, the electoral code stipulates that "contributions and financial donations offered by individuals or legal entities to political parties or candidates are deductible from income tax. Each donor can deduct up to a total amount of $10,000 per year" (Electoral Code, Art. 178). This provides donors with incentives to limit their donations to this maximum amount and request a receipt every time they make a donation to parties or candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 178. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        14
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The law does not establish any limits regarding contributions from private corporations. However, article 190 (4) of the Electoral Code bans donations and contributions to political parties or candidates from corporations with partial state ownership.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190 (4). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        15
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        The Electoral Code [art. 190 (1)] prohibits donations or contributions to political parties or candidates from legal entities that do not exercise any economic activity in Panama. Donations or contributions coming from foreign governments, individuals or entities are also banned, "with the exception of those coming from foreign political parties, international associations of political parties or foreign foundations linked to national parties, provided that such donations are not made for electoral campaign purposes" [art. 190 (3)]. The Electoral Code does not provide a precise definition of what constitutes a foreign entity.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190 (1 and 3). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

      • expand button!
        16
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        Contributions from third-party actors are not regulated.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

      • expand button!
        17
        Score
        NO
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The law does not establish any limits on election campaign spending by political parties or individual candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

      • expand button!
        18
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        The Electoral Code regulates the election of the President, Vice President and Deputies, as well as Mayors, Municipal Councilors and District Representatives. There are no specific legal provisions with regard to political finance at the sub-national levels, but the same rules apply to all parties and candidates regardless of the type of election they participate in (see Sources 3 and 4).

        More specifically, public funding is allocated to all registered political parties and then channelled to their local divisions (see Source 2). Independent candidates also receive pre-electoral and post-electoral public funding. For example, after the 2014 general elections public funding was granted to the 14 independent candidates who participated in local elections and were elected district representatives. The amount of public funds they received was calculated in proportion to the number of votes they obtained (see Sources 1 and 6).

        In addition, like parties and candidates participating in presidential and parliamentary elections, candidates running for mayors, municipal councilors or district representatives are required to submit financial reports about the origin and amount of private funding they received for their electoral campaigns (see Source 5).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Announcement on the amount of the post-electoral public funding for the period 2014-2019, published on 18 July 2014. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1854&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=5b743bc69365513a211cd224fe75eeed

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        3. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        4. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        5. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Instructions and forms for the submission of parties' and candidates' financial reports. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        6. "Representantes proclamados por partido político y alianza"/ Disctrict representatives elected per party and coalition. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/bhu8

      • expand button!
        19
        Score
        --
        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Both public and private funding is used to cover the costs of electoral campaigns. Public funding is distributed to all registered political parties and candidates, according to mixed criteria. More specifically, 60% of the public funding is allocated on an equal basis, while the remaining 40% is allocated in proportion to the total number of votes obtained by each party (see Sources 3 and 4). Both parties and candidates can raise private funds. As stated to the press by the Panamanian political analyst Mario Rognoni, smaller parties largely depend on the public funding, whereas bigger parties receive contributions from multiple private donors (see Source 4).

        However, limited information about the origin of private contributions is know to the public, as parties’ and candidates' financial reports are kept confidential and cannot be accessible to the public (see Sources 1 and 6). As a result, there is no official information regarding the sources of private funding of parties and candidates. During the 2014 elections, a limited number of candidates revealed voluntarily to Transparency International and the press information related to the funds collected and the amount spent for their electoral campaigns (see Source 5). For example, Ms. Giulia De Sanctis De Ferrari, a legislative candidate running with the People’s Party (a Christian Democratic Party that is currently part of the ruling coalition), declared that she received US$17,500 from family members, US$39,950 from a dinner she held, US$5,000 from corporate donations and $10,000 from self-financing (see Source 7).

        The Broad Front for Democracy (“FAD”), a socialist party that participated in the 2014 general elections but did not obtain any seats in parliament, declared that the private funding it received represented only 1% of its total funding and was collected from membership fees of US$20 – US$50 per person (see Sources 3 and 4). In addition, as mentioned by Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party who was interviewed for the purposes of this research, private funding may originate from corporate donations, loans or party fundraising activities (see Source 2).

        Parties are only allowed to acquire and administer movable and immovable property, receive membership fees, inheritances and donations (see Source 8). On the other hand, several candidates own businesses. For example, the 2014 presidential candidates of the three big parties ("Cambio Democratico", "PRD", "Partido Panameñista") were all wealthy businessmen (see Source 9). In this regard, Mr. José Luis Varela, member of the executive committee managing the electoral campaign of the winning presidential candidate who ran with the Panamanian Party ("Partido Panameñista"), mentioned to the press that apart from the public funding and private contributions, candidates would also use their own funds to cover their campaign expenses (see Source 10). There no limits in relation to self-financing, nor are the exact amounts of own funds spent by each candidate made public (see Source 1).

        As pointed out by Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM Panama, economic elites and corporations often make donations to more than one parties or candidates (see Source 1). For instance, during the 2009 general elections, a Colombian businessman accused of drug money laundering and currently imprisoned admitted having made financial contributions to various candidates running with big parties. Nevertheless, there is still no official mechanism allowing citizens to request and verify the detailed information on private funding received by each political party and candidate (see Source 6).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources
        1. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

        4. "Cuestionan capacidad del TE para fiscalizar subsidios"/ The Electoral Tribunal's capacity to control public funding is being questioned. By Jason Morales, PANAMÁ AMERICA, 13 April 2014. Available at: http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/content/cuestionan-capacidad-del-te-para-fiscalizar-subsidios

        5. “Candidatos revelan gastos de campaña” / Candidates reveal campaign expenses, by María Cristina Ramírez. LA PRENSA, 12 April 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-revelan-gastos-campana/307722

        6. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates occult their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/36950

        7. "Candidatos Panamá 2014" - Profiles of the candidates participating in the 2014 general elections, by LA PRENSA. Available at: http://candidatos2014.prensa.com/entity/candidate/giulia-de-sanctis-de-ferrari/

        8. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 97 (1, 8 and 9). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        9. "Candidatos Panamá 2014" - Profiles of the presidential candidates participating in the 2014 general elections, by LA PRENSA. Available at: http://candidatos2014.prensa.com/presidents/

        10. Interviews with the presidential candidates' managers. By Luis Bellini, LA PRENSA, 21 October 2013. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/mercaderes-candidatos/217095

      • expand button!
        20
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        The existing legal framework does not include any contribution or expenditure limits. The only legal restrictions applying to private contributions are related to the prohibition of anonymous donations, contributions from legal entities that do not exercise any economic activity in Panama, donations coming from governments, foreign individuals or organizations, as well as contributions from corporations with partial state ownership (see Sources 1 and 6). Political parties and candidates participating in elections must submit to the Electoral Tribunal, within 90 days after the election, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, including the origin and purpose of all private contributions received for the electoral campaign. These reports are kept confidential by the Electoral Tribunal and access is only limited to high-level electoral officials, who shall solely use this information to determine whether there is evidence of a criminal offence. This results in lack of public scrutiny and transparency of the private funding of parties and candidates.

        As pointed out in the case-law of the Electoral Tribunal, the purpose of the legal requirement to submit financial reports is to allow the Electoral Tribunal verify whether the private contributions received by political parties and candidates come from illegitimate sources, such as drug trafficking and money laundering (see Source 1 and attached case-law). However, only a small minority of candidates complies with this obligation. For example, only 1,039 of the 8,850 candidates who participated in the 2014 legislative elections submitted their reports by the deadline fixed by the Electoral Tribunal (see Sources 2 and 3). This makes it practically impossible to verify whether a party or a candidate received campaign donations from prohibited sources. Besides, the US$1000 fine that the electoral code provides in case political parties or candidates do not submit financial reports, makes them prefer to pay this insignificant amount, instead of revealing the names and data of their donors. As a result, there is no official information on cases of political finance violations and no sanctions have been imposed to date.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 1(1) and 2 (3). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        3. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        4. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates occult their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/36950

        5. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Decisions and case-law. Available at: http://201.174.39.184/tribelec/juris2.htm

        6. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        7. Interview with Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. By Álvaro Alvarado, TELEMETRO, 12 August 2014. Available at: http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/entrevistasexclusivas/Reformas-electorales-consultadas-sociedad-Pinilla3724457552.html#.U-zJ3G2D-9M or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk3UG1E0J0#t=969

  • expand button!

    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    42
    • expand button!
      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
      • expand button!
        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Article 182 (B - 2.2 & 2.4) of the Electoral Code stipulates that political parties must submit to the Electoral Tribunal quarterly reports on their expenditures between elections, in order to receive the post-electoral direct public funding. In addition, article 1 (2) of the Decree No. 38 of 2004 states that "political parties must submit to the Electoral Tribunal, no later than April 1 of each year, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, duly certified by an authorized public auditor. This report must include the origin and purpose of all private contributions received for the parties' operating activities."

        Regarding contributions and expenditures during electoral campaign periods, both political parties and individual candidates are obliged to "present to the Electoral Tribunal within 90 days after the election, detailed reports on their revenues and expenditures, including specific information about the origin and use of all private contributions received for electoral campaign purposes. The reports submitted by political parties must be duly certified by an authorized public auditor, while candidates must attach a sworn statement using the form provided by the Electoral Tribunal" [art. 3 (3) of the Decree No. 38 of 2004].

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 182 (B - 2.2 & 2.4). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 1 (2) and 3 (3). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        22
        Score
        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        The official campaign period in Panama is not clearly defined in the law, but in any case, according to the Electoral Code, it cannot be longer than 4 months. During the 2014 General Elections, the offical campaign period was from January 4, 2014 to May 1, 2014.

        Political parties and candidates have a common legal obligation to submit to the Electoral Tribunal, within 90 days after the election, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, specifying the origin and use of all private contributions received for the electoral campaign. Financial reports submitted by political parties must be duly certified by an authorized public auditor, while candidates' reports must be accompanied by a sworn statement, using the form provided by the Electoral Tribunal [Decree no. 38 of 2004, art. 3 (3)]. This amounts to less than quarterly reporting during the campaign period.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 3 (3). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        2. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 222. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        3. "Decreto 7 de 13 marzo 2013"/ Decree No. 7 of 13 March 2013 regulating the General Elections of 4 May, 2014, Art. 1, 133, sections 17 & 34. Available at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rr65z0j3zep31no/Decreto%207%20de%2013%20de%20marzo%20de%202013.pdf?dl=0

      • expand button!
        23
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Article 182 (B - 2.2 & 2.4) of the Electoral Code requires that political parties submit to the Electoral Tribunal quarterly reports on their expenditures between elections, in order to receive the post-electoral direct public funding. In addition, article 1 (2) of the Decree No. 38 of 2004 states that "political parties must submit to the Electoral Tribunal, no later than April 1 of each year, a detailed report of revenues and expenses, duly certified by an authorized public auditor. This report must include the origin and purpose of all private contributions received for the parties' operating activities."

        There is no such obligation for individual candidates, who are required to submit a post-election report (see indicator 22).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 182 (B - 2.2 & 2.4). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 1 (2). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        24
        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        After each general election, parties and individual candidates are called to submit detailed financial reports on the origin and nature of the private donations received for their electoral campaigns (see Sources 5 and 6). These reports include all types of contributions (in cash, in kind, in checks and services), information about the donors, such as name, ID number, telephone number, address, e-mail and detailed information on the expenses incurred (see Sources 4 and 5). The deadline for the submission of these reports for the 2014 elections expired on August 2, 2014 (see Source 6). According to information provided by the Electoral Tribunal to the press, only 1,039 of the 8,850 candidates who participated in the 2014 legislative elections had submitted financial reports by August 2. This represents only 11% of the total number of legislative candidates (see Source 7).

        Beyond election reports, political parties submit quarterly reports of itemized expenditures, in order to claim the corresponding quarterly disbursements from the public funding (see Sources 3 and 4). The most recent report covered the period from July 2013 to June 2014 and included information on the amounts of the public funding spent per trimester by each political party and the purpose of the expenditure, such as rental and maintenance of premises, advertising, training, etc. (see Source 1). In addition, political parties submit annual reports of the amounts spent in salaries of their employees. These reports include the name, personal identification number, position and function, as well as the monthly and annual salary of every person employed by each political party (see Source 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Information on the distribution and use of the public funding by political parties. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        2. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Information on political parties' expenditures on salaries. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=859

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        5. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Documents related to the reports of private contributions for the 2014 general elections. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        6. Electoral Tribunal Official Website – Announcement of extension of the deadline for the submission of parties’ financial reports. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1837&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=e0bd6eca9c4851f822b87650b4bb8e5e

        7. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates occult their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/369507

      • expand button!
        25
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        After each general election, parties and individual candidates are called to submit detailed financial reports on the origin and nature of the private donations received for their electoral campaigns (see Sources 1 and 4). These reports specify the type of contributions, whether in cash or in checks, in kind or in services (see Sources 1 and 3). For the calculation of in kind contributions, the candidates must submit a sworn statement declaring the value of each contribution. In addition, the reports presented by candidates running for national elections include the details of the bank account through which the financial contributions were received (see Source 1).

        The reports also provide detailed information about the donors. In case the donor is a natural person, the report mentions his/her name, ID or passport number, telephone number, postal address and e-mail. In case the donor is a legal entity, the report includes the name of the legal entity, the name and personal data of its legal representative, its registration number, its postal address, telephone number and e-mail (see Sources 1 and 4). However, the information regarding the origin of the donations listed in these reports is kept confidential by the Electoral Tribunal and is not accessible to the public (see Sources 2 and 5).

        So while the reports submitted do contain all types of contributions, the related issue has been addressed elsewhere: not all candidates submit their reports, and the reports that are recieved are required by law to be treated confidentially by the electoral tribunal, so they are not available for review or verification by citizens.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Documents related to the reports of private contributions for the 2014 general elections. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Richard Kilborn, National Financial Secretary of the People's Party ("Partído Popular"), 18 July 2014

        4. Electoral Tribunal Official Website – Announcement of extension of the deadline for the submission of parties’ financial reports. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1837&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=e0bd6eca9c4851f822b87650b4bb8e5e

        5. “Primer Informe de Observacion Electoral, 13 de Enero 2014” / First Election Observation Report, 13 January 2014, p. 21. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

    • expand button!
      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
      • expand button!
        26
        Score
        NO
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        According to the law, only the information regarding public funding must be made available to the public.

        Article 187 of the Electoral Code requires that “the Electoral Tribunal publish regularly in its newsletter and its website budget execution reports regarding the public funds allocated to political parties”. This includes information on the specific amounts allocated to each political party, as well as quarterly reports on political parties’ itemized expenses (see Source 3).

        With regard to private funding, article 209 states that the information on the origin of private contributions is confidential. According to the Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2013, article 7, political parties and candidates have the possibility to renounce the confidential treatment of this information. Otherwise, access to parties’ and candidates’ reports on private funding is only limited to high-level electoral officials, who shall solely use this information to determine whether there is evidence of a criminal offence. In this case, the Electoral Tribunal shall forward this information to the prosecution authorities and the judiciary.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 187, 209. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 7. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        3. Official Website of the Electoral Tribunal - Reports on Public Funding allocated to political parties. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

      • expand button!
        27
        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        With regard to direct public funding, the Electoral Tribunal publishes on its official website quarterly reports of political parties’ itemized expenditures. For instance, the most recent report covered the period from July 2013 to June 2014 and included information on the amounts of the public funding spent per trimester by each political party and the purpose of the expenditure, such as rental and maintenance of premises, advertising, training, etc. (see Source 1). In addition, citizens can find at the official website of the Electoral Tribunal annual reports of the amounts spent in salaries and professional services by all political parties. These reports include the name, personal identification number, position and function, as well as the monthly and annual salary of every person employed by each political party (see Source 2). Both types of reports mentioned above are available for direct download in .pdf format.

        As pointed out by Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, who was interviewed for the purposes of this research, the information on political parties’ and individual candidates’ private funding is not accessible (see Source 3). Indeed, in compliance to the provisions of the Electoral Code and Decree No. 38 of 2004, the information on the origin of private contributions received by political parties and candidates is kept confidential and is not published by the Electoral Tribunal (see also Sources 6 and 8). Six months after the 2009 general elections, the Electoral Tribunal published on its website a report in .pdf format, mentioning only the total amount of private contributions and expenses declared by each political party and presidential candidate (see Source 4). In early October 2014, this same report for the May 4, 2014 elections was released (see source 9).

        During the 2014 elections, a limited number of candidates revealed voluntarily to Transparency International and the press information related to the funds collected and the amount spent for their electoral campaigns. For example, Ms. Giulia De Sanctis De Ferrari, a parliamentary candidate running with the People’s Party, was the first to disclose the amount and origin of donations received and the amount spent for her electoral campaign (see Sources 5 and 7). However, there is no official mechanism allowing citizens to request the detailed information in relation to private funding of each political party and candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Information on the distribution and use of the public funding by political parties. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        2. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Information on political parties' expenditures on salaries. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=859

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        4. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Consolidated report on the revenues and expenses per political party and presidential candidate for the 2009 elections. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/fileadmin/userupload/Partidospoliticos/partidospoliticosen_formacion/ingresosyegresosporcontribucionesprivadas.pdf

        5. “Candidatos revelan gastos de campaña” / Candidates reveal campaign expenses, by María Cristina Ramírez. LA PRENSA, 12 April 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-revelan-gastos-campana/307722

        6. “Campañas políticas: transparencia y financiamiento” / Transparency and funding of political campaigns, by Javier Ernesto Sheffer Tuñón. LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 11 April 2014. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/opinion/campanas-politicas-transparencia-financiamiento/23449832

        7. "Candidatos Panamá 2014" - Profiles of the candidates participating in the 2014 general elections, by LA PRENSA. Available at: http://candidatos2014.prensa.com

        8. “Primer Informe de Observacion Electoral, 13 de Enero 2014” / First Election Observation Report, 13 January 2014, p. 21. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

        9 . Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Consolidated report on the revenues and expenses per political party and presidential candidate for the 2014 elections.http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/fileadmin/userupload/Elecciones/elecciones-2014/IngresosyEgresosporcontribucionesprivadas/CUADROIngresosyegresoscontribuicionesprivadasElecciones2014Sep14PDF.pdf

      • expand button!
        28
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        Only information regarding the distribution and use of public funding is published. The information related to the origin of private contributions is kept confidential by the Electoral Tribunal, pursuant to the legal provisions of the Electoral Code and Decree No. 38 of 2004 (see also Sources 4 and 5).

        The information on the public funding spent per trimester by each political party is published in a standardized format, listing the amounts spent for different categories of expenses. The first category includes expenses related to the operational costs of the parties’ offices, such as rental and maintenance of premises, salaries and professional services, advertising, equipment, etc. The second category includes expenses related to capacity building, such as the organization of trainings, learning material, participation and registration costs, etc., while the third category includes any other expenses (see Sources 1 and 2).

        In addition, citizens can find at the official website of the Electoral Tribunal annual reports of the amounts spent in salaries and professional services by all political parties. These reports are also presented in a standardized format and include the name, personal identification number, position and function, as well as the monthly and annual salary of every person employed by each political party (see Source 2). Both types of reports mentioned above are available for direct download in .pdf format. The Tribunal also publishes pdfs following elections noting only the total amount of private contributions and expenses declared by each political party and presidential candidate (see source 6).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources
        1. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        2. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Information on the distribution and use of the public funding by political parties. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        3. Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Information on political parties' expenditures on salaries. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=859

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        5. “Primer Informe de Observacion Electoral, 13 de Enero 2014” / First Election Observation Report, 13 January 2014, p. 21. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

        6 . Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, Consolidated report on the revenues and expenses per political party and presidential candidate for the 2014 elections.http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/fileadmin/userupload/Elecciones/elecciones-2014/IngresosyEgresosporcontribucionesprivadas/CUADROIngresosyegresoscontribuicionesprivadasElecciones2014Sep14PDF.pdf

      • expand button!
        29
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        First of all, it should be taken into account that the only officially published political finance data refers to the public funding and the total amount of private funding declared by parties and candidates. The information on the origin of private contributions received for the electoral campaign remains confidential and is not available to the public (see Sources 1 and 7).

        During the 2014 general elections, official political finance information was used by several media outlets as part of their reporting (see Source 8). At least four different newspapers published detailed information on the amount of the pre-electoral and post-electoral direct public funding allocated to political parties and independent candidates, as well as the formula used to determine the distribution of the public funding (see Sources 2, 3, 4 and 5).

        With regard to the origin of private funding and campaign expenses, various news reports published the information that some candidates voluntarily disclosed to the press (see for example Source 6). In addition, some newspapers like LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ and PANAMÁ AMERICA published information on the amount spent for campaign purposes, based on unofficial estimations of the Electoral Tribunal and political analysts (see Sources 1 and 7).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources
        1. “Gasto en campaña es similar al costo de las elecciones” / The cost of the electoral campaign is similar to the cost of elections. By Irma Rodríguez Reyes, PANAMA AMERICA, 19 March 2014. Available at: http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/content/gasto-en-campaña-es-similar-al-costo-de-las-elecciones

        2. "TE establece financiamiento público a los partidos políticos"/ The Electoral Tribunal determines the amount of public funding for political parties. LA OPINION PANAMÁ, 4 February 2014. Available at: http://laopinionpanama.com/nacional/politica/te-establece-financiamiento-publico-los-partidos-politicos/#sthash.uiP5Rj93.dpuf

        3. “$69.8 millones para los seis partidos políticos legalmente constituidos”/ $69.8 million for the six legally established political parties. By Lucy Garcés, PANAMA DECIDE, 24 October 2013. Available at: http://panamadecide.com.pa/69-8-millones-para-los-seis-partidos-politicos-legalmente-constituidos/

        4. "Subsidio multimillonario para operación de los partidos políticos"/ Multi-million state subsidies for the operation of political parties. By Ismael Gordón Guerrel, LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 3 July 2013. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/politica/subsidio-multimillonario-para-operacion-partidos-politicos/23783577

        5. "$27.9 millones dará TE a partidos políticos"/ The Electoral Tribunal will distribute $27.9 million to political parties. CRITICA, 3 February 2014. Available at: http://www.critica.com.pa/notas/1699955-279-millones-dara-te-partidos-politicos-

        6. “Candidatos revelan gastos de campaña” / Candidates reveal campaign expenses. By María Cristina Ramírez, LA PRENSA, 12 April 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-revelan-gastos-campana/307722

        7. “Campaña política ha costado $60 millones” / The cost of the electoral campaign was $60 million. By Carlos Anel Cordero, LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 14 April 2014. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/politica/campana-politica-costado-60-millones/23450395

        8. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

      • expand button!
        30
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        After each election, parties and candidates are obliged by law to submit detailed financial reports on the origin and nature of the private donations received for their electoral campaigns. These reports must include all types of contributions (in cash, in kind, in checks and services), information about the donor and detailed information on the expenses incurred. The deadline for the submission of these reports for the 2014 elections expired on August 2, 2014. However, according to news reports based on information provided by the Electoral Tribunal, only 1,039 of the 8,850 candidates who participated in the 2014 legislative elections had submitted financial reports by August 2. This represents only 11% of the total number of legislative candidates. Political parties who did not comply with this obligation shall be punished with a fine up to US$1,000, while in the case of candidates the sanction shall be a fine up to US$500 (see Source 1).

        Beyond the many violations of reporting deadlines detailed above, during the pre-electoral period there were also several news reports accusing the government party for abusing state assets in order to promote its candidates and attack the opposition (see Source 5). For instance, this was the case of the National Authority of Land Administration (ANATI) taking aerial photographs of opposition candidates’ properties without authorization and publishing them on a newspaper owned by the incumbent president (see Source 2). In addition, the opposition candidates and the press presented documents and evidence of a call-center operating in favor of José Domingo Arias, the presidential candidate running with the ruling party. According to these claims, the call-center operations were financed with funds coming from the National Assembly, managed by the director of the Panamanian Tourist Authority and coordinated by the former director of the National Immigration Service (see Sources 3 and 4).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources
        1. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates occult their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/369507

        2. "Campaña del Estado para promover a Arias"/ Government campaigns in order to promote Arias. By Luis Burón-Barahona, LA PRENSA, 14 December 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/campana-del-estado-promover-arias/243479

        3. “Supervisor señala que ‘call center’ de CD es financiado por la Asamblea” / Suprevisor notes that Democratic Change’s (“Cambio Democratico”) call center was financed by the National Assembly. By Luis Burón Barahona, LA PRENSA, 29 April 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/uhora/ruta-2014/call-center-denuncias-elecciones/317017

        4. "Fondos legislativos se usaron en campaña de CD"/ Parliamentary funds were used for the campaign of Democratic Change (the ruling party). By Ismael Gordón Guerrel, LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 11 August 2014. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/politica/fondos-legislativos-usaron-campana/23794942

        5. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

      • expand button!
        31
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        During the 2014 general elections in Panama, there were several news reports and documented incidents of vote-buying (see Source 7). According to a statistics report issued by the General Electoral Prosecutor, during the pre-electoral period January – December 2013 there were 22 proceedings for vote-buying (see Source 6). In addition, the General Electoral Prosecutor published a consolidated report on the irregularities that occurred on election day. More specifically, the Electoral Prosecutor of the Chiriquí province reported a case of vote-buying by a parliamentary candidate running with the Panamanian Party ("Partido Panameñista"). Other alleged incidents of vote-buying were reported in Penonomé and Macaracas, while in a polling center in Herrera supporters of a local candidate running with the Panamanian Party were accused of vote-buying. In the district Monte Oscuro, a local candidate and supporters of the "MOLIRENA" party were accused of vote-buying in exchange of US$25 per vote (see Source 1).

        Further incidents of vote-buying were published on the website of the Commission for Justice and Peace ("Comisión de Justicia y Paz"), a Panamanian NGO that carried out election observation activities during the 2014 general elections and received citizens' complaints in relation to irregularities observed on election day. For instance, in the district of San Miguelito observers reported that representatives of the government party ("Cambio Democratico") and the "MOLIRENA" party were paying US$10 in exchange of votes. Representatives of the Panamanian Party were also accused of buying votes in the district of Pesé, with photos supporting the accusations. In the district of Arraiján supporters of the ruling party allegedly offered an amount equal to US$200 - US$300 in exchange of the identification documents of citizens who did not have the intention to vote in favor of its presidential candidate. The identification documents would be returned to the citizens in the end of the election day, thus preventing them from exercising their right to vote (see Source 2). Similar practices of the ruling party were formally denounced by an opposition candidate in Santiago de Veraguas (see Source 5).

        Furthermore, a representative of the "MOLIRENA" party provided photos and supporting documents accusing of vote-buying a parliamentary candidate running with the ruling party in the Chiriquí province (see Source 4). According to news reports, the Electoral Prosecutor is investigating 47 allegations of vote-buying and uses of state resources for political purposes in the provinces of Herrera, Los Santos and Veraguas (see Source 3). No final decision has been issued yet by the Electoral Tribunal in this regard.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources
        1. Official Website of the Electoral Prosecutor – Report on electoral complaints. Available at: http://fiscalia-electoral.gob.pa/fiscalia/?q=node/45

        2. Comisión de Justicia y Paz – Complaints lodged on election day. Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/category/denuncias/

        3. "En Veraguas, Herrera y Los Santos hay 47 investigaciones por compra de votos"/In Veraguas, Herrera and Los Santos, 47 cases of vote-buying are being investigated. By Vielka Corro Ríos, LA PRENSA, 8 June 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/uhora/locales/fiscalia-investigaciones-compra-votos/338421

        4. "Rosas denuncia compra de votos por Ana Giselle"/ Rosas accuses Ana Giselle of vote-buying. LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMA, 8 May 2014. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/nacional/rosas-denuncia-compra-votos-giselle/23454938

        5. "Impugnarán votos en el 9-1"/ Voting will be challenged in district 9-1. By Ismael Hernández, MI DIARIO, 6 May 2014. Avalable at: http://www.midiario.com/2014-05-06/interior/impugnaran-votos-en-el-9-1

        6. Official Website of the Electoral Prosecutor – Statistics on electoral complaints during the pre-electoral period January – December 2013. Available at: http://fiscalia-electoral.gob.pa/fiscalia/?q=estadisticas

        7. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

      • expand button!
        32
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        First of all, it is important to mention that the only officially published political finance data refers to the public funding and the total amount of private funding declared by each political party and presidential candidate, whereas the information on the origin of private contributions received by political parties and candidates is confidential and is not available to the public (see Sources 4 and 5).

        The officially published political finance data is used systematically by Transparency International Panama (“Fundacio?n para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana”), a non-profit organization that issues annual reports on the status of corruption in Panama (Sources 1 and 3). These reports include a section dedicated to electoral funding. For example, the 2013 report mentions that: “according to information provided by the Electoral Tribunal, the public funding that will be distributed to political parties for the 2014 general elections amounts to US$69.8 million. 40% of this amount (US$27.9 million) will be allocated before the elections, while the remaining 60% (US$41.9 million) will be allocated after the elections, in order to cover the parties’ expenses outside the electoral period. An analysis of the information provided by political parties after the 2009 elections reveals that they received a total of US$25.6 million in private donations and they spent a total amount of US$27.3 million.” The report also points out that there are no limits on the amount a political party can spend nor is there any legal obligation to publicly disclose the origin of the donations. Based on this data, the report concludes that this political finance system forms the basis for inequality and political corruption (see Source 1).

        In addition, for the 2014 general elections a group of 13 civil society organizations formed a joint board that carried out election observation activities and issued three different reports during the pre-electoral period. The first election observation report included political finance data in relation to the distribution of the pre-electoral public funding to political parties and the lack of transparency of the private funding. Taking into account these findings, the report advocates for legal reforms in order to make available to the public the information on the origin of private donations received by parties and candidates (see Source 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources
        1. “El Estado de la Corrupcio?n en Panama?, 2013” / The State of Corruption in Panama, 2013, p. 3. Transparency International Panama. Available at: http://www.libertadciudadana.org

        2. “Primer Informe de Observacion Electoral, 13 de Enero 2014” / First Election Observation Report, 13 January 2014. Mesa Integral de Observación (an alliance of civil society organizations conducting election observation and media monitoring). Available at: http://justiciaypazpanama.org/mesa-integral/informes/

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        4. Electoral Tribunal, Official Website – Information on the distribution and use of public funding for political parties. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=407

        5. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 7. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        33
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        In the last 10 years, the provisions on political finance included in the Electoral Code have undergone various reforms. After each electoral process, the National Commission of Electoral Reforms analyzes the complaints and flaws detected and develops reform proposals for the improvement of the electoral system. These proposals are submitted and discussed by the parliament and eventually lead to legal reforms (see Source 7).

        Law No. 60 of 2006 introduced important reforms with regard to post-electoral public funding and certain restrictions on private funding. According to the amendments, all parties that passed the electoral threshold would receive a fixed contribution equal to 20% of the total public funding. In addition, the amount distributed to political parties on the basis of the votes obtained would be calculated by taking into account not only the votes obtained in presidential elections, but the total number of votes in presidential, parliamentary and local elections. As for private funding, the 2006 reform introduced prohibitions on anonymous and foreign donations, as well as donations from companies where the government is a shareholder (see Source 1).

        After the 2010 general elections, the National Commission of Electoral Reforms presented Bill No. 292 of 2011, which included substantial reform proposals on political finance. In particular, this Bill made the first steps to regulate private contributions and ensure transparency. It contained provisions obliging political parties and candidates to keep records and report all the private contributions they received. It also introduced limits on donations and campaign expenditures and established sanctions for non-compliance with private funding regulations (see Source 2).

        This Bill was the result of a consensus between all political parties, the Electoral Tribunal and representatives from civil society organizations, universities, syndicates and trade unions. However, the reform proposals presented to the National Assembly in 2011 were rejected by the governing coalition of Democratic Change (“Cambio Democratico”) and “MOLIRENA” (Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement). In response to that, widespread protests of the opposition parties, the Electoral Tribunal and the civil society led to the postponement of the discussion and the Bill was archived without further processing (see Sources 4, 5 and 9).

        Instead, the 2012 electoral reform only made slight changes to the political finance provisions, increasing the pre-electoral public funding for independent candidates from US$0.30 to US$0.50 per registered supporter (see Source 3). In 2010 and 2011 respectively, the government party ("Cambio Democratico") made two unsuccessful attempts to abolish or reduce the public funding (see Source 6).

        Following the 2014 general elections and the change of the government, the National Commission of Electoral Reforms has resumed its activities and intends to submit again to the National Assembly a bill containing similar reforms to Bill No. 292 of 2011, aiming to restrict private donations and enhance transparency (see Sources 5 and 8).

        Peer Reviewer comment: I agree with the comments, but wish to add how the 2010 reform has been resubmitted, with the same articles on political finance legal reform, to the National Assembly by the electoral tribunal magistrates. (see sources 1 and 2). The electoral reform project which is being resubmitted was the result of a consensus by representatives of political parties and members of civil society within the National Commission for Electoral Reform after more than a year of deliberation, and had been presented for approval to the National Assembly in 2011, but was rejected by the past government through its ample majority in the assembly.

        The resubmission of the electoral reform project was presented to the diputados of the National Assembly by the electoral tribunal magistrate Erasmo Pinilla.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        1) “Ley 60 de 2006” / Law No. 60 of 2006. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/pmE

        2) “Proyecto de Ley 292 de 2011” / Bill No. 292 of 2011. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/pmI

        3) “Proyecto de Ley 508 de 2012” / Bill No. 508 of 2012. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/pmJ

        4) “Proyecto 292 contenía regulaciones para las donaciones privadas”/ Bill 292 included provisions on private donations”. PANAMA AMERICA, 14 March 2013. Available at: http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/content/proyecto-292-contenía-regulaciones-para-las-donaciones-privadas

        5) Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        6) “$69.8 millones para los seis partidos políticos legalmente constituidos”/ $69.8 million for the six legally established political parties. By Lucy Garcés, PANAMA DECIDE, 24 October 2013. Available at: http://panamadecide.com.pa/69-8-millones-para-los-seis-partidos-politicos-legalmente-constituidos/

        7) Electoral Tribunal - Official Website, presentation of the National Commission of Electoral Reforms. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=620

        8) "Comisión insistirá en reformas de transparencia electoral" / The Commission will insist on reforms regarding electoral transparency. By Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 16 July 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/cnre-insistira-reformas-transparencia-electoral/359763

        9) "Reformas electorales: Un debate permanente en Centroamérica", pp. 32-37. Reporte Político - Panorama Centroamericano, Año XLII, V Época, No. 5., Centroamérica, Enero-Abril 2012. By INCEP (Central American Institute of Political Studies) & Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Available at: http://incep.org/portfolio/reporte-politico-enero-abril-2012-2/

  • expand button!

    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    0
    • expand button!
      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
      • expand button!
        34
        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

      • expand button!
        35
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        Third-party actors such as non-profit organizations, trade unions, foundations, religious organizations, institutions and universities do not submit any kind of financial reports related to electoral contributions or expenditures to the Electoral Tribunal. They are instead registered and report to the National Authority of Public Revenues (“ANIP”) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (see Source 1). The donations received by these entities are exempt from income tax, but they have to be reported to the ANIP. In particular, third-party actors submit annual reports of the donations they received, indicating the name, identification or registration number of each donor, date and amount of the donation and whether this was in cash or in kind (see Sources 1 and 2).

        For example, the NGO Transparency International Panama submits annual donation reports and publishes at its website a list of donors as well as the amounts of the donations received (see Sources 3 and 4). However, in general very limited information regarding third-party actors’ financial information is available to the public, as they rarely publish their financial reports and there is no official mechanism allowing citizens to request and verify the content of these reports (see Source 5).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources
        1. Ministry of Economy and Finance/National Authority of Public Revenues Official Website - Register of NGOs and non-profit organizations. Available at: https://www.anip.gob.pa/defaultsecure.asp

        2. Resolution 201-17173 of 16 December 2013 on the obligation to submit the report of "no declaration". Available at: https://www.anip.gob.pa/news.asp?lnk=news149.htm

        3. Transparency International Panama Official Website - Reports of donations. Available at: http://www.libertadciudadana.org/donaciones.html

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        5. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

      • expand button!
        36
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Third-party actors such as non-profit organizations, trade unions, foundations, religious organizations, institutions and universities do not submit any kind of financial reports related to electoral contributions or expenditures to the Electoral Tribunal, nor are any such reports made available to the public.

        Very limited information regarding third-party actors’ financial information is available to the public, as they rarely publish their financial reports and there is no official mechanism allowing citizens to request and verify whether they make contributions or expenditures in relation to electoral campaigns (see Sources 1 and 2). Only in some exceptional cases third-party actors such as non-profit organizations, trade unions, foundations, religious organizations, institutions and universities, make their financial reports available to the public. For example, the NGO Transparency International Panama publishes at its website in .PDF format a list of donors as well as the amounts of the donations received (see Sources 3 and 4).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources
        1. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        2. Ministry of Economy and Finance/National Authority of Public Revenues Official Website - Register of NGOs and non-profit organizations. Available at: https://www.anip.gob.pa/defaultsecure.asp

        3. Transparency International Panama Official Website - Reports of donations. Available at: http://www.libertadciudadana.org/donaciones.html

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

      • expand button!
        37
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Third-party actors obtain legal personality and are registered before the National Authority of Public Revenues of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Different types of third-party actors appear on the register, such as non-profit organizations, trade unions, foundations, religious organizations, institutions and universities (see Source 2). However, very limited information regarding third-party actors’ financial information is available to the public, as they rarely publish their financial reports and there is no official mechanism allowing citizens to request and verify whether they make contributions or expenditures in relation to electoral campaigns (see Source 1).

        During the 2014 general elections, the cases of third-party actors involved in electoral campaigns or working to influence campaigns have been rare. For example, on 17 March 2014, the Electoral Tribunal issued a decision against the Association for Ecotouristic Development of Ubigandupu. More specifically, according to Decree No. 14 of 16 August 2012, third-party actors wishing to purchase airtime for electoral campaign can be granted authorization by the Electoral Tribunal, provided that they have a justified interest in the common good of the electoral process. In this case, the Association for Ecotouristic Development of Ubigandupu was granted authorization to purchase airtime for electoral campaign messages with the aim to promote political participation of the indigenous community in Panama. However, the Electoral Tribunal found that this airtime was used in order to attack the presidential candidate of the ruling party and issued a decision for the revocation of this authorization (see Source 4).

        Another example of a third-party actor in close relation with a party or candidate is the case of the “Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Construcción y Similares” (“Suntracs”), the trade union of construction workers which is one of the most important trade unions in the country. In particular, the newly-established political party “Frente Amplio por la Democracia” (“FAD”) emerged as the political instrument of the labour movement and participated in the 2014 elections with a presidential candidate who had been member of Suntracs for 21 years (see Source 3). This party did not obtain enough votes in order to elect any representatives and dissolved after the elections.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Given that the Association for Ecotouristic Development of Ubigandupu is not a formal and legally recognized political actor, they do not have to report or respond financially in any way to the Electoral Tribunal.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources
        1. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        2. Ministry of Economy and Finance/National Authority of Public Revenues Official Website - Register of NGOs and non-profit organizations. Available at: https://www.anip.gob.pa/defaultsecure.asp

        3. "De obrero a presidenciable"/ From worker to presidential candidate. By Isidro Rodriguez, LA PRENSA, 10 January 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/obrero-presidenciable/257570

        4. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Decision on the cancellation of an NGO authorization for purchasing airtime for electoral campaign spots. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=12&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1720&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=512553c9a5901359164b96473ddb9420

        5. "Decreto 14 del 16 de agosto de 2012"/Decree No. 14 of 16 August 2012 regulating the purchase of electoral propaganda. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/fileadmin/userupload/organizacionelectoral/elecciones2014/formularios-propagandas/Decreto14del16deagostode2012.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Phone interview with Javier Ordinola former legal advisor to the Electoral Tribunal.

  • expand button!

    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    59
    • expand button!
      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
      • expand button!
        38
        Score
        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        Article 142 (1) of the Panamanian Constitution provides for the establishment of the Electoral Tribunal as an autonomous and independent authority with legal personality, its own budget and administrative autonomy. Furthermore, article 182 of the Electoral Code authorizes the Electoral Tribunal to “regulate, monitor and audit the use of direct public funding by parties and candidates, in order to ensure its effectiveness”.

        With regard to private funding, the Electoral Tribunal is in charge of investigating and auditing the finances of political parties and candidates. Thus, “the Internal Audit Directorate of the Electoral Tribunal is in charge of verifying parties’ and candidates’ compliance with the legal provisions regulating the registration of private contributions. To this end, it may at any time, request political parties and candidates to disclose their financial records, bank statements or related documents” (Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 6). Political parties and independent candidates have the obligation to cooperate with the Electoral Tribunal in the conduct of audits of their registers and financial documents [Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 3 (1)]. The information on the origin of private contributions shall be treated confidentially by the Electoral Tribunal and shall be used solely to determine whether there is evidence of a criminal offence. In this case, the Electoral Tribunal shall forward this information to the prosecution authorities and the judiciary, at their request (Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 7).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Constitución Política de la República de Panamá de 1972 (versión actualizada)” / Constitution of 1972 (updated version), Art. 142 (1). Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/cendoj/cendojfields/constitucion-politica/

        2. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 182, 209. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        3. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 3 (1) 6 & 7. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        39
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The Constitution stipulates that the Electoral Tribunal comprises three magistrates, who must fulfill the same criteria as those required for the appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice. One magistrate shall be appointed by the legislature, another one by the executive and the third by the Supreme Court of Justice. The appointed magistrates must be selected among persons who are not members of the appointing authority and shall serve for a period of ten years [art. 142 (2)]. However, the appointment process is not clearly defined in the law.

        The magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal must meet the following requirements, according to article 204 of the Constitution: 1) Be Panamanian citizens by birth; 2) Be at least 35 years old; 3) Enjoy all their civil and political rights; 4) Have a university degree in law; 5) Have at least ten years of experience as lawyers, judges, law professors at any university or have served in any position that requires a law degree in the Electoral Tribunal, the Ombudsmann’s Office or the Public Prosecutor.

        In addition, the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal cannot be selected among persons who are members of the parliament or occupy any position in the executive during the ongoing legislative term or have been convicted for a criminal offense (Constitution, art. 203 and 205).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        “Constitución Política de la República de Panamá de 1972 (versión actualizada)” / Constitution of 1972 (updated version), Art. 142 (2), 203, 204 & 205. Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/cendoj/cendojfields/constitucion-politica/ or http://www.asamblea.gob.pa

      • expand button!
        40
        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        The Electoral Tribunal is composed of three members. The criteria for the appointment of the Electoral Tribunal’s members are prescribed by the Constitution. More specifically, they must be Panamanian citizens by birth, be at least 35 years old, enjoy all their civil and political rights, have a university degree in law and have at least ten years of experience as lawyers, judges, law professors at any university or have served in any position that requires a law degree in the Electoral Tribunal, the Ombudsmann’s Office or the Public Prosecutor. In addition, the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal cannot be selected among persons who are members of the parliament or occupy any position in the executive during the ongoing legislative term or have been convicted for a criminal offense (see Sources 4 and 7). According to the information provided by the Electoral Tribunal’s official website, these legal requirements are met by the current president, vice president and member (see Sources 1, 2 and 3).

        However, a few days before elections, there have been various news reports - mainly on media close to the ruling party - questioning that the current president of the Electoral Tribunal, Magistrate Erasmo Pinilla, has a university degree in law. A former staff member of the Electoral Tribunal requested from the University of Panama a certification of Pinilla’s law degree, raising suspicions on the validity of his academic credentials (see Source 5). The University of Panama responded in less than one week and certified that Mr. Erasmo Pinilla indeed graduated from the faculty of law and political science in 1975 (see Source 6).

        According to the law, one magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal is appointed by the legislature, another one by the executive and the third one by the Supreme Court of Justice. There is no public competition or public vetting process and the selection of the candidates is left to the discretion of the appointing authority. The official decisions on the appointment of the current members of the Electoral Tribunal by the executive and the legislature do not mention any specific reasons that led to these appointments (see Sources 8 and 9). However, there is no concrete evidence that the appointments were influenced by family or business connections or party affiliations.

        On the other hand, for the selection of the magistrate and alternate appointed by the judiciary in 2012, there was an advertised competition open to any citizen who fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The names and data of the candidates who applied and those eventually invited to an interview were published at the official website of the judicial authority (see Sources 7 and 11). The judiciary justified its decision for the selection of the candidates who were appointed by making reference to their strong academic and electoral background (see Source 10). The decision was received positively by both government and opposition parties as well as the civil society, and there was common consent about the expertise and indepedence of the appointed magistrates (see Source 4).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Concerning the meritocratic base of the election of three magistrates, the credibility of all three has been previously questioned, which creates doubt as to their independence and to what interests they respond. Heriberto Arauz is questioned for having publicly lobbied in favor of ex-president Martinelli´s reelection (see source 1). Erasmo Pinilla is questioned for having given a heavily partisan speech in favor of Varela upon his victory in the general elections and for the cancelation of television spots for the pro government candidate (see source 2 and 3). Valdes Escofferey is questioned for utilizing ex-preisdent Martin Torrijos campaign slogan “si se puede” in a speech, possibly signaling his party loyalities (see source 4 and 5).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Erasmo Pinilla Castillero, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=107

        2. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, Vice President of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=108

        3. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Heriberto Araúz Sánchez, Judge at the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=863

        4. "Aplausos por designación en el Tribunal Electoral"/ Cheers for appointment to the Electoral Tribunal. LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 17 October 2012. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/politica/aplausos-designacion-tribunal-electoral/23549106

        5. "Ponen en duda la idoneidad de magistrado Erasmo Pinilla" / The eligibility of Magistrate Erasmo Pinilla is being questionned. PANAMÁ AMERICA, 10 April 2014. Available at: http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/content/ponen-en-duda-la-idoneidad-de-magistrado-erasmo-pinilla

        6. "La Universidad de Panamá certifica título del Magistrado Pinilla"/ The University of Panama certifies the degree of Magistrate Pinilla. Universidad de Panamá, 16 April 2014. Available at: http://universidaddepanama.info/noticias/comunidad-universitaria/5153-la-universidad-de-panama-certifica-titulo-del-magistrado-pinilla.html

        7. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        8. Resolution No. 22 of 22 December 2006, appointing Erasmo Pinilla as magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b66a

        9. Executive Decree No. 642 of 29 December 2006 appointing Eduardo Valdés Escoffery as magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b66i

        10. Official Website of the Judicial Authority of the Republic of Panama - "Pleno del CSJ escoge Magistrado del Tribunal Electoral"/ The plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice appointed a magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/noticias/pleno-del-csj-escoge-magistrado-del-tribunal-electoral/

        11. Official Website of the Judicial Authority of the Republic of Panama - "Lista de los aspirantes a Magistrado del Tribunal Electoral"/List of candidates who applied for the position of Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/noticias/lista-de-los-aspirantes-a-magistrado-del-tribunal-electoral/

        Reviewer's sources: 1. RUBÉN POLANCO, "Opiniones de Araúz desatan polémica", La Prensa, 18 October 2012, http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/opiniones-de-arauz-desatan-polemica/131416 2. "Discurso de Pinilla Busca su Reelección", PanamaAmerica, August 5, 2014, http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/tema-del-dia/discurso-de-pinilla-busca-su-reeleccion-segun-juristas 3. "Un Tribunal de un Solo Magistrado" La Opinion Panama, 28 October 2013, http://laopinionpanama.com/nacional/politica/analisis-politico-un-tribunal-de-un-solo-magistrado/ 4. Minerva ZBethancourth, "Valdés Escofferey y su “Si Se Puede”", 16 May 2004, http://portal.critica.com.pa/archivo/05162004/relatos.html 5. Yahir Leis Alvarado and White Castro, "Tribunal Electoral afronta relevo de Magistrado Eduardo Valdés Escofferey", La Prensa, 13 October 2014, http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/te-afronta-relevo-magistrado/407400

      • expand button!
        41
        Score
        YES
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        The Constitution provides that Electoral Tribunal magistrates shall be appointed for a staggered term of ten years, without excluding the possibility of reappointment [Constitution, art. 142 (2)]. In order to implement the system of staggered appointments, a transitional provision was added to the Constitution in 2004, establishing that the appointment of the next three electoral magistrates shall be as follows: one designated by the Judicial Branch for a period of six years, another one designated by the Executive Branch for a period of eight years and a third one appointed by the Legislature for a period of ten years [Constitution, art. 327 (3)].

        According to article 6 of the Organic Law on the Electoral Tribunal and the Electoral Prosecutor, the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal are independent in the exercise of their duties. In addition, article 7 of the same law states that “the magistrates and their alternates shall not be removed or suspended from their duties, except in the cases and with the formalities prescribed by law”. Article 142 (3) of the Constitution also stipulates that the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal shall be responsible before the Supreme Court of Justice "for faults or offenses committed in the exercise of their functions". Pursuant to this provision, the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice has the exclusive competence to adjudicate cases involving magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal [Judicial Code, art. 86 (2 - b)]. The investigation and prosecution can only be initiated by the National General Prosecutor [Constitution, art. 219 (1)].

        In the framework of the independence and administrative autonomy recognized by the Constitution (art. 142), the Electoral Tribunal is in charge of monitoring, investigating and auditing the finances of political parties and candidates. Thus, article 182 of the Electoral Code authorizes the Electoral Tribunal to “regulate, monitor and audit the use of direct public funding by parties and candidates, in order to ensure its effectiveness”. In addition, “the Internal Audit Directorate of the Electoral Tribunal is in charge of verifying parties’ and candidates’ compliance with the legal provisions regulating the registration of private contributions. To this end, it may at any time, request political parties and candidates to disclose their financial record books, bank statements or related documents” (Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 6).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Constitución Política de la República de Panamá de 1972 (versión actualizada)” / Constitution of 1972 (updated version), Art. 142 and 219 (1). Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/cendoj/cendojfields/constitucion-politica/ or http://www.asamblea.gob.pa

        2. Ley No. de 10 de febrero de 1978 Orgánica del Tribunal Electoral y de la Fiscalía Electoral / Organic Law No. 4 of 10 February 1978 on the Electoral Tribunal and the Electoral Prosecutor, Art 6. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b101

        3. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 182. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        4. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 6. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

        5. “Codigo Judicial de la Republica de Panama 2001"/ Judicial Code of the Republic of Panama of 2001, Art. 86 (2-b). Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/bhk0

      • expand button!
        42
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        The Electoral Tribunal currently comprises three members: one designated by the Judicial Branch for a period of six years, another one designated by the Executive Branch for a period of eight years and a third one appointed by the Legislature for a period of ten years (see Sources 2, 3 and 4). The decisions of the Electoral Tribunal shall be final, irrevocable and binding. Appeals can only be adjudicated by the Electoral Tribunal itself (see Source 5).

        The magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal shall not be removed or suspended from their duties, except in the cases and with the formalities prescribed by law. They are only accountable to the Supreme Court of Justice for any misdemeanor or offense committed during the exercise of their functions (see Source 5). The Magistrates enjoy immunity from prosecution, which can only be lifted by decision of the Electoral Tribunal’s plenary. During the last 10 years no magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal has been arbitrarily disciplined, arrested, detained or removed from office.

        However, since November 2013 the Public Prosecutor has requested lifting of immunity of the Electoral Tribunal’s President and Vice President, in order to initiate criminal proceedings against them. The two electoral magistrates are facing charges for crimes related to privacy and inviolability of secrecy, and crimes against public administration in the form of unjust enrichment (see Source 7). The President of the Electoral Tribunal, Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, was also accused of crimes against honor. More specifically, one of his former employees accused him of making a public statement that offended his dignity, honor, image and reputation (see Source 6). The charges are still pending, but no action has been taken yet by the plenary of the Electoral Tribunal to lift the immunity of those magistrates (see Sources 1, 6 and 7).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Yes, I agree with the score, and wish to add a comment, on how there was a dispute between two branches of government, in the conflict between the Electoral Tribunal and the Supreme Court over who has jurisdiction and the final decision on electoral matters. Alejandro Moncada, then president of the Supreme Court, revoked the decision of the Electoral Tribunal to suspend a campaign commercial of the “Panama Avanza” Movement, alleging it constituted “dirty campaigning” and was thus prohibited by the Electoral Tribunal. The Supreme Courts intromission in electoral matters in apparent favor of Martinelli´s party was denounced by the magistrate president of the Electoral Tribunal, Erasmo Pinilla, as a threat to democracy and the electoral process and the “judicialization” of elections.(Source 1 and 2)

        Alejandro Moncada nomination was rejected by some of the most important business and professional organizations, including the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE), the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry (CCIAP), National Journalism Council (CNP) and the Movement of Unionized Lawyers (MAG); and also by the two major opposition parties, Panameñista Party and Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD). (Source 3)

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources
        1. Skype Interview with Mr. Harry Brown Araúz, President of the Board of Directors of CIDEM ("Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas"/Center for Democratic Initiatives) Panama, 18 July 2014

        2. Resolution No. 22 of 22 December 2006, appointing Erasmo Pinilla as magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b66a

        3. Executive Decree No. 642 of 29 December 2006 appointing Eduardo Valdés Escoffery as magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b66i

        4. Official Website of the Judicial Authority of the Republic of Panama - "Pleno del CSJ escoge Magistrado del Tribunal Electoral"/ The plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice appointed a magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.organojudicial.gob.pa/noticias/pleno-del-csj-escoge-magistrado-del-tribunal-electoral/

        5. “Organismos Electorales y Derecho contencioso electoral, la experiencia Panameña”/ Electoral authorities and electoral law, the Panamanian experience. By Erasmo Pinilla C., Report of the 2nd Latin American Conference on Electoral Law, 2013. Available at: http://www.donotlink.com/b671

        6. "Procuraduría fragua caso penal contra Pinilla"/ Public Prosecutor seeks to initiate criminal proceedings against Pinilla. By Carlos Anel Cordero, LA ESTRELLA DE PANAMÁ, 19 March 2014. Available at: http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/panama-2014/procuraduria-fragua-caso-penal-contra-pinilla/23444942

        7. "Piden levantar fuero a magistrados electorales"/ Requests to lift immunity of electoral magistrates. By Aneldo Arosemena, LA CRITICA, 9 June 2014. Available at: http://www.critica.com.pa/notas/1737080-piden-levantar-fuero-magistrados-electorales-

        Reviewer's sources: 1. Rubén Polanco, "Proceso Electoral en Peligro", La Prensa, Nov 7, 2013, http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/%C2%B4proceso-electoral-peligro%C2%B4/222461 2. Tribunal Electoral Panameño: Intromisión de Corte Suprema hace peligrar elecciones, Teletica.com, Nov 6, 2013, http://www.teletica.com/Noticias/31473-Tribunal-electoral-panameno-intromision-de-Corte-Suprema-hace-peligrar-elecciones.note.aspx 3. Contunente Rechazo a Fallo de Moncada, La Estrella de Panama, Nov 11, 2013, http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/politica/contundente-rechazo-fallo-moncada-luna/23506344

      • expand button!
        43
        Score
        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        The Electoral Tribunal is composed of three members: a president, a vice president and a member, appointed for a staggered term of ten years. In order to implement the system of staggered appointments, a transitional provision was added to the Constitution, establishing that the appointment of the next three electoral magistrates shall be as follows: one designated by the Judicial Branch for a period of six years, another one designated by the Executive Branch for a period of eight years and a third one appointed by the Legislature for a period of ten years (see Source 7). Thus, the current president, Magistrate Erasmo Pinilla Castillero, was appointed by unanimous decision of the legislature for a second consecutive term expiring in 2016 (See Source 1). The vice president, Magistrate Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, was appointed in 2006 by the executive, while Magistrate Heriberto Araúz Sánchez, was appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice in 2012 (See Sources 2 and 3).

        The Electoral Tribunal has regulatory, judicial and administrative powers and it is in charge of the interpretation and application of the electoral law (see Source 4). In this framework, it issues decrees regulating specific issues of the electoral process, such as Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions. In addition, it issues resolutions, notifications, orders and any other act related to the implementation of the electoral law. All these acts are published at the Newsletter of the Electoral Tribunal, which is available to the public through the Electoral Tribunal’s official website (see Source 5). Acting as a judicial authority, the Electoral Tribunal rules on any electoral complaints and cases brought to it by the Electoral Prosecutor. These decisions are accessible through the official website of the Electoral Tribunal (see Source 6).

        The decisions and acts of the Electoral Tribunal are independent of the judicial, legislative and executive and are recognized by every authority. The decisions are taken in plenary sessions (“Sala de Acuerdos”) by a majority of votes and must be signed by all three magistrates. In case one of the three magistrates expresses a majority opinion, he/she can reserve his/her vote and attach his/her reasoning (see Sources 5 and 6).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Erasmo Pinilla Castillero, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=107

        2. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, Vice President of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=108

        3. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Profile of Mr. Heriberto Araúz Sánchez, Judge at the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=863

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        5. Newsletters of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://201.174.39.184/tribelec/boletin.CFM

        6. Decisions of the Supreme Office of the Electoral Tribunal. Available at: http://201.174.39.184/tribelec/despachos2.cfm 8

        7. Interview with Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. By Álvaro Alvarado, TELEMETRO, 12 August 2014. Available at: http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/entrevistasexclusivas/Reformas-electorales-consultadas-sociedad-Pinilla3724457552.html#.U-zJ3G2D-9M or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk3UG1E0J0#t=969

      • expand button!
        44
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The Public Finance Audit Department of the Electoral Tribunal analyzes and verifies the use of public funding and the quarterly reports submitted by political parties, and reviews their accounting records. The Electoral Tribunal also verifies the supporting documents provided by the parties and ensures that these match the information included in the expenditure reports. In case the Electoral Tribunal identifies irregularities, the corresponding amount of public funding is withheld until the political party corrects them (see Sources 1, 2 and 4).

        However, the capacity of the Electoral Tribunal to effectively monitor the implementation of political finance regulations has been questioned. For example, political analyst Mr. Mario Rognoni stated to the press that the electoral authority does not have sufficient staff or adequate mechanisms to verify that the public funding is spent as required by the Electoral Code. As he points out, political parties only submit a list of people who received capacity building training financed with public funds, but the Electoral Tribunal does not have the capacity to verify whether the training actually took place or whether all the people included in the list attended (see Source 3).

        With regard to private funding, after each election both parties and candidates are required to submit financial reports on their revenues and expenditures, including specific information about the origin and use of all private contributions received for the electoral campaign. The Electoral Tribunal is required by law to treat the information included in these reports confidentially and only use it to identify any criminal violations. After the 2014 general elections only 11% of the total number of candidates submitted financial reports (see Source 6). There is no evidence that the Electoral Tribunal has reviewed these reports, identified missing reports or imposed fines to the candidates who have not complied with the obligation to report the private donations they received for their electoral campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources
        1. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        2. Electoral Tribunal Official Website: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=27

        3. "Cuestionan capacidad del TE para fiscalizar subsidios"/ The Electoral Tribunal's capacity to control public funding is being questioned. By Jason Morales, PANAMÁ AMERICA, 13 April 2014. Available at: http://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/content/cuestionan-capacidad-del-te-para-fiscalizar-subsidios

        4. Electoral Tribunal Official Website – Statistics and description of audits. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=648

        5. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Announcement on results of audit in relation to public funding. Published on 22 November 2013. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=23&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1576&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=692ab73ca4164eeea06a545523184eca

        6. Interview with Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. By Álvaro Alvarado, TELEMETRO, 12 August 2014. Available at: http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/entrevistasexclusivas/Reformas-electorales-consultadas-sociedad-Pinilla3724457552.html#.U-zJ3G2D-9M or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk3UG1E0J0#t=969

      • expand button!
        45
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        Although article 6 of the Decree No. 38 of 2004 gives the Internal Audit Directorate of the Electoral Tribunal the option to perform compliance controls and request political parties and candidates to display their financial records, bank statements and related documentation, the Electoral Tribunal does not generally perform any investigations or audits in relation to private funding (see Sources 3, 4 and 7).

        As pointed out by the interviewed sources, the Electoral Tribunal only conducts audit controls in relation to the use of direct public funding by the parties. More specifically, each party is entitled to an amount of post-electoral public funding which is distributed in quarterly disbursements. In order to receive this amount, political parties have to justify their expenses (see Sources 2, 3 and 4). In addition, they are required by law to dedicate at least 50% of the post-electoral public funding for civic education activities and a minimum of 10% for capacity building activities for women (see Source 5). Thus, political parties submit to the Electoral Tribunal quarterly financial reports on the use of the public funding. Based on the information included in these reports, the Electoral Tribunal carries out audits and compliance controls, verifying the supporting documents. In case the Electoral Tribunal identifies irregularities, the corresponding amount of public funding is withheld until the political party corrects them (see Sources 2 and 6).

        The Electoral Tribunal publishes at its official website monthly statistics on the audits conducted. For example, in July 2014 the Electoral Tribunal carried out 4 audits in relation to the public funds spent by political parties for operational activities and capacity building (see Source 1 and attached documents).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website – Statistics and description of audits. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=648

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        5. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 182 (B). Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        6. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Announcement on results of audit in relation to public funding. Published on 22 November 2013. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=23&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1576&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=692ab73ca4164eeea06a545523184eca

        7. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 6. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        46
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        As pointed out by the interviewed sources, the Electoral Tribunal only conducts audit controls in relation to direct public funding. Political parties submit to the Electoral Tribunal quarterly reports on the use of public funding, along with the supporting documents justifying the expenses (see Sources 2, 3 and 4). Based on the information included in these reports, the Electoral Tribunal carries out audits and compliance controls, verifying the supporting documents. In case the Electoral Tribunal identifies irregularities, the corresponding amount of public funding is withheld until the political party corrects them (see Sources 2 and 5).

        The Electoral Tribunal publishes at its official website monthly statistics on the audits conducted. These statistics only provide information on the number of audits conducted per month and a brief description (no more than one sentence). For example, in July 2014 the Electoral Tribunal carried out 4 audits in relation to the public funds spent by political parties for operational activities and capacity building. However, no specific information is provided in relation to the political parties’ reports that were audited, the problems identified and the findings of the audits (see Source 1).

        With regard to private funding, no audit or investigation results are available to the public.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website – Statistics and description of audits. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=648

        2. Phone Interview with Mr. Olmedo V. Sanjur, Electoral Tribunal/Department of Public Funding, 25 July 2014

        3. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        5. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Announcement on results of audit in relation to public funding. Published on 22 November 2013. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=126&txttnews%5Bpointer%5D=23&txttnews%5Bttnews%5D=1576&txttnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=692ab73ca4164eeea06a545523184eca

    • expand button!
      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
      • expand button!
        47
        Score
        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        According to article 190 of the Electoral Code, "the following donations or contributions to political parties and candidates are prohibited: 1) Donations or contributions from legal entities that do not exercise any economic activity in Panama. 2) Anonymous donations or contributions, except those originating from public fundraising activities, which shall be regulated by the Electoral Tribunal. 3) Donations or contributions coming from governments, foreign individuals or organizations, with the exception of those coming from foreign political parties, international associations of political parties or foreign foundations linked to national parties or foundations, provided that such donations are not made for electoral campaign purposes. 4) Contributions from corporations with partial state ownership” The Electoral Tribunal shall impose a fine equal to US$1,000 – US$25,000 to any political party or candidate who violate these prohibitions (Electoral Code, art. 417).

        Furthermore, political parties who do not comply with the obligation stipulated in article 209 of the Electoral Code, to register and report the private contributions received for their electoral campaign, shall be punished with a fine equal to US$100 – US$1,000 or withholding of the public funding they are entitled to [Electoral Code, art. 420 (1)]. In the case of candidates, the sanction shall be a fine equal to US$50 – US$500 [Electoral Code, art. 420 (2)]. The same sanctions shall be imposed in case a political party or candidate receives or handles private funds through third parties (Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 5).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190, 209, 417, 420. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 5. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        48
        Score
        YES
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        Article 543 of the Electoral Code authorizes the Electoral Tribunal to adjudicate cases of electoral offenses and impose penalties for violations of the electoral law. Regarding sanctions for violation of the legal provisions regulating political finance, the Electoral Tribunal has the power to impose fines to political parties and candidates who do not comply with the obligation to keep records and submit detailed reports on the private contributions and expenses for electoral campaign purposes (Electoral Code, art. 209 and 420). In addition, the Electoral Tribunal can impose fines to political parties or candidates who receive anonymous or foreign private donations or contributions from corporations with private state ownership (Electoral Code, art. 190 and 417). These penalties shall be imposed by a reasoned decision and can only be appealed before the Electoral Tribunal [Electoral Code, art. 566 (7) and 568]. In case the Electoral Tribunal conducts audits of political parties’ and candidates’ finances and finds evidence of a criminal offence, it shall forward these cases to public prosecution and the judiciary (Decree No. 38 of 2004, art. 7).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. “Código Electoral de la República de Panamá (Versión consolidada y actualizada)” / Electoral Code of the Republic of Panama, enacted by Law No. 11 of 10 August 1983 (consolidated and updated version), Art. 190, 209, 417, 420, 543, 566 & 568. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=54

        2. “Decreto 38 de 23 diciembre 2004”/ Decree No. 38 of 23 December 2004 regulating the obligation of political parties to report private contributions, Art. 7. Available at: http://www.tribunal-electoral.gob.pa/html/index.php?id=934

      • expand button!
        49
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        The Electoral Tribunal has the power to impose fines to political parties and candidates who do not comply with the obligation to submit detailed financial reports on the origin and nature of the private donations received for their electoral campaigns. In case it is proved that a political party or candidate received anonymous donations, contributions from foreign sources or contributions from corporations with partial state ownership, the Electoral Tribunal shall impose a fine equal to US$1,000 – US$25,000 (see Sources 2 and 3).

        The deadline for the submission of parties’ and candidates’ financial reports for the 2014 elections expired on August 2, 2014. However, only 1,039 of the 8,850 candidates who participated in the 2014 legislative elections had submitted their reports by August 2. This represents only 11% of the total number of legislative candidates. Political parties who did not comply with this obligation shall be punished with a fine up to US$1,000 and withholding of the post-electoral public funding they are entitled to, while in the case of candidates the sanction shall be a fine up to US$500 (see Sources 2 and 3). However, as of August 18 no sanctions have been imposed yet to offenders, nor were the names of the candidates who did not submit financial reports published (see Sources 4 and 5). This failure to submit reports in 2014 is a repeat of what happened in the 2009 elections as well (see Source 2).

        A research on the case-law of the Electoral Tribunal for the 2009 general elections reveals that no sanctions were imposed to the offenders. More specifically, the Electoral Tribunal revoked the fines stating that the submission of financial reports by parties and candidates is not subject to any specific deadline and that the 60-day limit mentioned in the law is optional. In other cases, the Electoral Tribunal’s reasoning was that only parties and candidates who received private contributions are obliged to submit financial reports. Thus, if candidates and parties declare not having received any private contributions, they are not obliged to submit such reports and therefore no sanctions shall be imposed on them (see Source 1 and attached case-law).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. It is worth noting that the Electoral Tribunal has yet to revoke the fines to candidates whom did not comply with the obligation to disclose the financial information of their private donations, and we cannot infer the Electoral Tribunal will necessarily revoke the fines only because it did so in 2009, even if it is the likely outcome.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Decisions and case-law. Available at: http://201.174.39.184/tribelec/juris2.htm

        2. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates hide their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/369507

        3. "Candidatos incumplen con declarar donantes"/ Candidates do not comply with the obligation to report donors. By Gustavo Aparicio, LA PRENSA, 27 June 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-incumplen-declarar-donantes/349461

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Ignacio Iriberri, Treasurer of "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (FAD), 24 July 2014

        5. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

      • expand button!
        50
        Score
        --
        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Political parties and candidates are required to submit detailed financial reports on the origin and nature of the private donations received for their electoral campaigns. Political parties who do not comply with this obligation shall be punished with a fine up to US$1,000 and withholding of the post-electoral public funding they are entitled to, while in the case of candidates the sanction shall be a fine up to US$500. As pointed out in the case-law of the Electoral Tribunal, the purpose of this requirement is to allow the Electoral Tribunal verify whether the private contributions received by political parties and candidates come from illegitimate sources, such as drug trafficking and money laundering (see Source 1 and attached case-law). Furthermore, in case it is proved that a political party or candidate received anonymous donations, contributions from foreign sources or contributions from corporations with partial state ownership, the Electoral Tribunal shall impose a fine equal to US$1,000 – US$25,000.

        As indicated to the press by Mr. Javier Ordinola, a former legal advisor to the TE, the amounts of the fines prescribed by law are so insignificant compared to the possible amounts of private donations, that parties and candidates would most certainly prefer to pay the US$1,000 or US$500 fines instead of revealing the names and data of their donors (see Source 2). Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, the current President of the Electoral Tribunal, expressed the same concern during an interview at a Panamanian TV station, stating that certain candidates prefer to pay a fine, rather than disclose information on the origin and use of the private donations they received (see Source 5).

        Indeed, only a small minority of candidates complies with the obligation to submit financial reports. For example, only 1,182 of the 8,850 candidates who participated in the 2014 elections submitted their reports by the deadline fixed by the Electoral Tribunal. This represents only 11% of the total number of legislative candidates (see Sources 2 and 5). No sanctions have been imposed yet to offenders, nor were the names of the candidates who did not submit financial reports published (see Sources 4).

        Besides, a research on the case-law of the Electoral Tribunal reveals that no sanctions were imposed to candidates who did not submit financial reports after the 2009 elections either. More specifically, the Electoral Tribunal revoked the fines stating that the submission of financial reports by parties and candidates is not subject to any specific deadline and that the 60-day limit mentioned in the law is optional. In other cases, the Electoral Tribunal’s reasoning was that only parties and candidates who received private contributions are obliged to submit financial reports. Thus, if candidates and parties declare not having received any private contributions, they are not obliged to submit such reports and therefore no sanctions shall be imposed on them (see Source 1 and attached case-law).

        Considering all the above, the National Commission for Electoral Reforms has proposed a bill establishing the obligation to make the information included in parties’ and candidates’ financial reports available to the public, in order to enhance public scrutiny and transparency (see Sources 3 and 4). In addition, Mr. Ignacio Arias, representative of the People’s Party (“Partido Popular”) which is currently part of the ruling coalition, emphasized the necessity to increase the amount of the fines, in order to improve their coercive power (see Source 2). Furthermore, as Mr. Guillermo Márquez Amado, former magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal, pointed out to the press, the names of the parties and candidates who do not submit financial reports should be made public (see Source 2). Finally, during a TV interview, the current President of the Electoral Tribunal suggested that the law should establish more effective sanctions against candidates who do not submit financial reports, such as the disqualification from running for public office (see Source 5).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. I wish to add on the topic of urgent areas of reform: limits on private spending, increased transparency, a larger role for public financing of electoral campaigns and overall limits on campaign spending, all of which are listed in point 2 of the Innovations introduced to the electoral code (see source 2, page 3) by the 2010 electoral reform project recently resubmitted to the National Assembly (see source 1), which if approved would significantly alter campaign financing.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources
        1. Electoral Tribunal Official Website - Decisions and case-law. Available at: http://201.174.39.184/tribelec/juris2.htm

        2. "Candidatos ocultan a sus donantes"/Candidates occult their donors. By Luis Burón-Barahona & Aminta Bustamante, LA PRENSA, 4 August 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-ocultan-donantes/369507

        3. "Candidatos incumplen con declarar donantes"/ Candidates do not comply with the obligation to report donors. By Gustavo Aparicio, LA PRENSA, 27 June 2014. Available at: http://www.prensa.com/impreso/panorama/candidatos-incumplen-declarar-donantes/349461

        4. Phone Interview with Mr. Carlos Gasnell, Vice President of Transparency International Panama, 17 July 2014

        5. Interview with Mr. Erasmo Pinilla, Presiding Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal. By Álvaro Alvarado, TELEMETRO, 12 August 2014. Available at: http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/entrevistasexclusivas/Reformas-electorales-consultadas-sociedad-Pinilla3724457552.html#.U-zJ3G2D-9M or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk3UG1E0J0#t=969

        Reviewer's sources: 1.National Assembly website: "Reformas Electorales reciben Primer Debate", accessed on November 24, 2014, http://www.asamblea.gob.pa/noticias/reformas-electorales-reciben-primer-debate
        2. National Assembly Secretary General, "Proyecto de Ley 48", 2 September 2014, accessed on November 254, 2014, http://www.asamblea.gob.pa/sites/default/files/proyectos/2014p048.pdf

Panama has national elections for a unicameral legislature and a directly elected President. The National Assembly comprises 71 representatives elected in 39 electoral circuits for a period of five years, through a mixed electoral system with 26 single-member constituencies and 13 multi-member constituencies. A FPTP system is used in single-member constituencies, whereas in multi-member constituencies representatives are elected by list proportional representation. The President is directly elected by simple majority vote for a period of five years.

There is a mixed system of campaign finance, combining public and private funding. Public funding is allocated to all registered political parties and independent presidential candidates, while private funds are collected both on the party and candidate levels.

Political parties cease to exist if they obtain less than 4% of the valid votes cast. Only parties that pass this threshold are entitled to direct public funding.

The most recent general elections took place on 4 May 2014.