30 year era of Martinelli “Magic” coming to inglorius END.

Human Interest

A name and effigy revered by millions. One who continuously faced enemies, a rebel, a voice to be heard, one who seemed to always find a way out.  RICARDO MARTINELLI will never be the same in Panama. The “machine” has got him by the balls. He’s made too many enemies, and an olive branch is nowhere to be seen.

In a statement, the Electoral Court explained that once the sentence of 10 years and eight months against Ricardo Martinelli arrives, the procedure for his disqualification will be applied.



The figure of Ricardo Martinelli, as a presidential candidate, will not be on the ballot for the May elections in the polling stations of the Realizing Goals and Alliance parties.

The Electoral Tribunal (TE) reported this Thursday that, in accordance with article 180 of the Political Constitution, presidential candidate Martinelli “will be disqualified” from participating in the next elections on May 5.

The ruling of the TE is based on the fact that article 180 prohibits the fact that a person with convictions for intentional crimes that imply sentences of more than five years in prison cannot be elected President of the Republic. This ruling arises from a ruling issued by an ordinary criminal justice court, which is public knowledge, but the ruling has not been notified to the electoral entity.

Martinelli was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison for the crime of money laundering. The Second Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), made up of judges Ariadne Maribel García Angulo (speaker), María Eugenia López Arias and Maribel Cornejo Batista, did not admit the Cassation Appeal of a former president of the Republic or of four other citizens, in the so-called New Business case.

Given this situation, the TE is obliged to apply paragraph 10 of article 615 of the Electoral Code, which establishes the disqualification of candidates in such legal conditions.

The electoral courts are the first instance in this process, since in the second instance the case must go to the plenary session of the TE.

The electoral administrative prosecutors must request it on behalf of society and in the interest of the law, according to article 620 of the Electoral Code.

In the statement, the Electoral Court emphasizes to citizens that they have not yet received an authenticated copy of the final ruling. However, it anticipates that as soon as the documentation reaches its hands, the corresponding process will be carried out expeditiously and in accordance with the provisions of the Political Constitution and the electoral law.

Martinelli’s disqualification is a historic event in Panamanian politics. It is the first time that a presidential candidate has been disqualified due to a criminal conviction.

Martinelli’s disqualification places his running mate, José Raúl Mulino, as the main candidate, but without a substitute.

Mulino, once it was known that Martinelli was seeking asylum in the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama, assured that the political campaign continues.

What’s more, Martinelli wrote a letter asking for support for Mulino as a presidential candidate.

Mulino, who was his Minister of Security, came to Martinelli’s campaign after the resignation of Marta Linares de Martinelli to continue as a candidate for vice president of the Republic, due to all the legal processes that she would be facing for being the wife of the Presidential candidate.

A request has already arrived at the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office for this entity to begin the processes to request the disqualification of the former president.

Daniel Lombana, candidate for deputy by free nomination, presented a complaint to the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office to formally request the disqualification of Ricardo Martinelli as a candidate for the President of the Republic and already a deputy.

The General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office, in a recent statement, maintains that the decision issued by the Judicial Branch implies the absolute nullity of Ricardo Martinelli’s applications for popularly elected positions. This position is based on the prison sentence imposed on the politician, considering that this clearly violates a constitutional precept.

The Prosecutor’s Office argues that the ruling of the Judicial Branch has a constitutional legal impact that must be followed and executed by the corresponding authorities. In this sense, the responsibility of the Electoral Tribunal, in its electoral administrative functions, to carry out the execution and compliance of the sentence against Martinelli stands out.

However, the Prosecutor’s Office emphasizes that the Political Constitution, in its article 142, grants the Electoral Court the exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the electoral law. In addition, article 144 establishes that the General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office is a contributing body to the electoral jurisdiction of Panama.

It is crucial to note that, in accordance with the Political Constitution, in articles 153 (section 4), 180 and 22 (section 3), citizens convicted of an intentional crime with a custodial sentence of five years or more cannot be candidates for popularly elected positions.

The Prosecutor’s Office highlights that subjecting the decision of the Judicial Branch to a jurisdictional process could be interpreted as a lack of knowledge of the constitutional power of a State organ. The final judicial ruling, issued in accordance with current procedural rules, is beyond the scope of questioning or ignorance by the Electoral Court or the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office, depending on their position.

The Prosecutor’s Office reiterates that it is up to the Electoral Court, in an administrative manner, to comply with the decision issued by the Judicial Body. Therefore, it considers that a judicial or jurisdictional procedure that seeks to question the decision of a State power, issued in accordance with the Political Constitution, is neither viable nor appropriate.

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