The General Election Planof the Electoral Tribunalof Panama / Eduardo Valdés Escoffery
EVE: (PLAGEL) Stands for GENERAL ELECTION PLAN that is started as part of the planning for each election and is composed of a Magistrate who heads it, a liaison office headed by the Director and Deputy Director of Electoral Organization, and 25 work committees and 3 work subcommittees
with a responsible and co-responsible with their own team of collaborators, who independently of the day to day (work) develop at the same time specific tasks in connection with election organization. Each committee is responsible for one of the critical areas that should be planned and executed in order to enable the general election.
EW: When and how is PLAGEL conceived?
EVE: Since the first popular consultation, the constitutional referendum in 1992 and thereafter has been improved by introducing technological controls with the use of MS Project tool that allows to detail all the activities and sub activities of every committee and the planned date versus the actual dateof execution in order to have a clear picture of which committees are late, on time, or ahead in fulfilling their responsibilities.
EW: What is the importance of PLAGEL within the electoral process?
EVE: PLAGEL is a key tool for the responsible planning of such a delicate and important challenge as it is holding general elections, with guarantee for everyone involved, with transparency and avoiding negligence that may affect or could affect rights that must be exercised by all parties, candidates, and voters.
EW: Do you know of any similar initiatives in other countries of the Continent?
EVE: It is not called like that, but the same principle of planning, ordered by areas of responsibilities exists in other countries of the continent.
EW: The Electoral Tribunal has already started the General Election Plan, although the Electoral Reforms have not been approved in the National Assembly. What might be the consequences?
EVE: We are beginningall the activities in the committees that need to begin two years before the election and that would not be affected by the reforms. By May of this year, changes to the rules governing the contest in May 2014 should be well defined.
EW: The term of the Chief Justice of the TE will end in November, how could this situation affect the development of PLAGEL?
EVE: PLAGEL should not be affected if the Supreme Court does not re-elect Justice Solis, because with recent constitutional reforms of 2004 the country is prepared for that eventuality by staggering the terms of the current justices.
EW: How far in advance should PLAGEL begin?
EVE:EW: In how many stages is PLAGEL divided and what innovations do you envisaged for 2014?
EVE:EW:EVE:EW:EVE:EW:EVE: We must continue to demand of our deputies to approve the electoral reforms before May 2012 and to be vigilant against possible interference of the Supreme Court in electoral matters which is exclusive competence of the Electoral Tribunal, whose experience and credibility is what guarantees a peaceful electoral process, in which the vote may be exercised freely, honestly and efficiently as mandated by the Constitution.