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Panama Government


Panama is a constitutional republic. Administratively the country is divided into nine provinces, plus three autonomous territories for indigenous people. Executive power is held by the president, who is popularly elected for a five-year term and cannot serve two consecutive terms. The unicameral Legislative Assembly has 78 members who are also elected for five years.

The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The branches are according to Panama's Political Constitution of 1972, reformed by the Actos Reformatorios of 1978, and by the Acto Constitucional in 1983, united in cooperation and limited through the classic system of checks and balances. Three independent organisations with clearly defined responsibilities are found in the Political Constitution. Thus, the Comptroller General of the Republic has the responsibility to manage public funds. There also exists the Electoral Tribunal, which has the responsibility to guarantee liberty, transparency, and the efficacy of the popular vote; and, finally, the Ministry of the Public exists to oversee interests of State and of the municipalities.

In Panamanian history, the dominant parties have been the PRD and the Panameñista (former Arnulfista Party). These parties were founded by very charismatic and strong political enemies, Omar Torrijos (PRD) - the father of the current president, Martin Torrijos Espino - and Arnulfo Arias (Panameñista/Arnulfista) - husband of the previous president, Mireya Moscoso -. Even though these leaders died years ago, their "aura" is always revived by its followers, and they are present in every election.

Panamanian politics have been historically very corrupt. Lately, the Panamanian society and press has gotten tired of this and is auditing and fighting for improvements. A sign of this is the lack of Young vote in the 22/10/06 Referendum, showing a lack of confidence in Panama Politics ways and Politicans. However, the country's socialist/worker parties are not popular due their history as in Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia.


Country name
conventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama

Government type
constitutional democracy

name: Panama
geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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