13 de Ago de 2022

Nacional

Perks debate put on hold

PANAMA. The project to cut back privileges in the legislative assembly seems to have come unstuck.

PANAMA. The project to cut back privileges in the legislative assembly seems to have come unstuck.

Instead of open discussion yesterday, the Credentials Commission suggested postponing the debate for another 10 days and said that it should take place behind closed doors.

Even Jose Luis “Popi” Varela, president of the National Assembly, who made the original proposal, did not challenge the decision.

He said that the closed door meeting was just a way to ensure that the proposal will not be challenged when it comes to the second debate.

Varela’s original proposal included raising the quorum for debates from 18 to 28, docking pay for legislators who were absent from debates which could not be discussed for lack of a quorum, reducing the number of tax-free cars they can import, penalizing those who extend their privileges to friends or family, cutting back the $80 per day in food expenses for extraordinary session of the Assembly, cutting back of the numbers of sub-secretaries and vice-presidents and sending internal documents electronically to limit the use of paper.

The reaction of the legislators to the proposals has been mixed.

Opposition leader Yassir Purcait said that the reforms are not a national priority.