Search

 

Cablegate: Panama: Prd National Assembly Deputies to Elect

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #1431/01 2362226
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 242226Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1048
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 001431

SIPDIS

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV KCRM KJUS PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA: PRD NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEPUTIES TO ELECT
LEADERSHIP SLATE ON AUGUST 30

REF: A. (A) PANAMA 1408
B. (B) PANAMA 1346
C. (C) PANAMA 1309

Classified By: Ambassador William A. Eaton. Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) Governing Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)
National Assembly Deputies will meet on August 30 to select
in a secret ballot its slate of candidates to lead the
chamber, PRD National Executive Committee (CEN) Member Samuel
Buitrago explained to Ambassador on August 23. Presently,
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, wanted in the U.S. for the 1992 murder
of U.S. serviceman Zak Hernandez, leads the race to be the
next President of the National Assembly. "Gonzalez is the
natural candidate to lead the chamber," National Assembly
Deputy Miguel "Micky" Aleman said, later adding, "At this
stage, the only way that Gonzalez will not be elected is if
he withdraws from the race." Buitrago and Aleman made these
comments during an August 23 coffee hosted by Ambassador for
young rising PRD stars that also included Vice Minister of
Housing Doris Zapata, Panama City Councilman Carlos
Perez-Herrera, and Alternate National Assembly Deputy Miguel
"Micky" Sierra. In comments to the press, President Martin
Torrijos and First VP and FM Samuel Lewis separately
indicated that the election of the next National Assembly
President was in the legislature's hands. Post remains
hopeful that President Torrijos' personal assurances that
Gonzalez will ultimately step aside -- assurances conveyed by
Lewis and Minister of the Presidency Ubaldino Real in Panama
City and by Panamanian Ambassador Frederico Humbert in
Washington -- will be fulfilled. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
PRD "Bancada" to Elect Leadership in Secret Ballot
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (C) PRD National Assembly Deputies "will meet on August 30
to elect its nominees to be the next President, First Vice
President, and Second Vice President of the National Assembly
as well as the chairman of the Assembly's committees," PRD
National Executive Committee (CEN) Member Samuel Buitrago
told Ambassador on August 23. Buitrago explained that the
PRD's CEN members would preside over, but not vote in, this
election; only National Assembly Deputies would vote in a
secret ballot. The PRD CEN -- which is chaired by President
Torrijos who is also the party's Secretary General -- would
count the votes and certify the winners. Given the PRD
dominance in the National Assembly -- it holds 45 of its 75
seats -- the PRD's leadership slate would be elected formally
on September 1 during the opening ceremonies for the new
legislative session.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
PRD Deputies: Gonzalez "Natural" Candidate, Has Votes
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (C) PRD National Assembly Deputy Miguel "Micky" Aleman
and commented to Ambassador that Gonzalez was the "natural"
candidate to lead the National Assembly. Alternate
(suplente) National Assembly Deputy Miguel "Micky" Sierra
noted, "Gonzalez has the votes." Gonzalez was "objective,"
"open-minded," and "fully understood how to manage the
National Assembly," the assembled PRD rising stars agreed.
In response to inquiries by the assembled PRD functionaries,
POLCOUNS layed out the U.S. position as reported reftel A.

4. (C) In a subsequent pull-aside with POLCOUNS, Sierra and
Aleman said that Gonzalez's candidacy sprung as an initiative
from the National Assembly and was not being forced upon them
by the Executive. In response to questions about how serious
Gonzalez's situation with the U.S. was, POLCOUNS noted that:
Gonzalez's problems were of a legal, not a political nature;
these problems would not be resolved with an "political
understanding" and that the U.S. still sought to bring
Gonzalez to justice for the murder of a U.S. serviceman.
Surprised that POLCOUNS was aware of President Torrijos' and
First VP and FM Samuel Lewis' August 13 meeting with Gonzalez
and current National Assembly President Elias Castillo,
Aleman and Sierra acknowledged that Torrijos had given his
imprimatur to Gonzalez's candidacy. Nonetheless, both
asserted that by that time, Gonzalez had already emerged as
the PRD bloc's near-consensus candidate as the result of a
series of meetings among deputies. Aleman noted, "At this
stage, the only way Gonzalez won't be elected is if he
withdraws his candidacy."

--------------------------------------------- ----
Torrijos and Lewis: It's in the Assembly's Hands
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (U) President Torrijos told the press on August 23, "I
reiterate there are no pressures. At a given moment, the
(PRD) bloc will reach an agreement and decide who is to be
the next president of the National Assembly." Separately
while traveling in Brazil where he attended the Latin
America-East Asia Cooperation Forum, First VP and FM Samuel
Lewis commented to the press, "The Foreign Ministry has not
tried to become involved in matters that are of a purely
domestic nature for our country." According to press
reports, Lewis said he supported Gonzalez who he
characterized as "one of the young leaders who has
demonstrated great capacity within the PRD and national
politics."

-------
Comment
-------

5. (C) Barring a last-minute request from Torrijos to
Gonzalez to step aside, Gonzalez is on track to win the
support of his fellow PRD deputies to be the National
Assembly's next president on August 30. The PRD dominated
Assembly would then elect Gonzalez formally on September 1.
Post remains hopeful that President Torrijos' personal
assurances that Gonzalez will ultimately step aside --
assurances conveyed by Lewis and Minister of the Presidency
Ubaldino Real in Panama City and by Panamanian Ambassador
Frederico Humbert in Washington -- will be fulfilled.
EATON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

World Economic Forum: President Xi Jinping’s Speech At Davos Agenda Is Historic Opportunity For Collaboration

– Chinese President Xi Jinping called for both greater global efforts in the fight against an unprecedented public health crisis and a renewed commitment to multilateral cooperation, in a special address on Monday to business, government and civil society ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>