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Presidents discuss reforming or closing the Central American Parliament

March 5, 2020

The presidents of five Central American countries seek to reform or even close the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), the regional legislative body questioned for its ineffectiveness, Guatemalan ruler Alejandro Giammattei said Wednesday.

“Five of the seven presidents have accepted the challenge of reforming Parlacen,” Giammattei said in a speech.

The Guatemala-based body has been operating since 1991 and is also made up of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Giammattei also contemplated adding Costa Rica, which is part of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

“We want the Central American union, we have to reform the Parlacen. Either we change it or we close it,” he said, in a forum on development in Central America attended by Latin American and Spanish ex-presidents, including Mauricio Macri (Argentina, 2015-2019) , Andrés Pastrana (Colombia, 1998-2002) and José María Aznar (Spain, 1996-2004).

The president considered it essential to reform the regional forum so that it forces laws to be homologated.

Giammattei proposes to reduce the deputies by each country from 20 to 10 and suspend the automatic entry to the Parlacen of presidents and vice-presidents at the end of their constitutional mandates.

The regional body has been severely questioned by various sectors that describe it as a refuge for “corrupt politicians” and “a white elephant,” whose resolutions are not binding.

The Guatemalan president defended in the forum the elimination of customs and border controls among Central American countries, as a boost to the regional economy.

The regional body has as observers Mexico, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela.

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