Telemetro just reported that Martinelli's approval rate plummeted another 11% to 49%. But that number, dear reader, refers to the month of May, which is before Martinelli set out on a collision course with the citizenry ramming the mega-controversial "sausage law" through the assembly. So one may reasonably expect the current approval rate to be another ten to twenty percent lower.
This humiliating decline in legitimacy was to be expected after a string of scandals and screw-ups by Martinelli and his mafia government. The shortlist includes highlights like (and we're borrowing from Eric Jackson's summing-it-all-up on Facebook):
- Announcing the $100 for 70 law, then figuring out that there were millionaires taking advantage, so announcing that there would be a means test, then discovering that no rules, budget or employees were in place to do this means testing;
- Stacking the Supreme Court with unqualified cronies, then illegally removing the Attorney General under some bizarre pretext, then replacing the AG with another crony and have the whole scheme approved by the now complacent Supreme Court;
- Announcing that Panama would leave PARLACEN immediately, then discovering that the Vienna Convention requires notice to abrogate a treaty so putting the move off;
- Appointing a police chief with a history of committing war crimes;
- Inviting the Colombian war into Panama by having the police offer rewards for the capture of FARC figureheads and making unprovoked attacks on Colombian rebels in the Darién province;
- Announcing that Israel is the protector of the Holy City, without considering the diplomatic implications of saying that;
- Posting photos of the SPI shooting at pictures of Arabs as targets on his website, without considering the diplomatic and security implications of that;
- Getting into this improvised power struggle over control of Carnival in Panama City, and having crowds who were doing nothing wrong pepper gassed and the hapless rival organizer arrested for something that he didn't do;
- Announcing that he would be bringing charges in a Costa Rican court about how a journalist has endangered the security of the Panama Canal, without considering that at a trial Panama would have to discuss sensitive canal security issues in a foreign court;
- Stressing relations with Costa Rica (a country much more successful in meeting development goals than Panama) by going on some insane bipolar rant about that country's Attorney General's trips to Panama and passports;
- Failing to come up with a convincing response (like publicizing his campaign finances) to allegations of money laundering, drug-funding of his campaign and political party, more than casual ties with his cousin and treasurer Ramón Martinelli who is in jail in Mexico on money laundering charges for one of that country's biggest cartels;
- Pardoning cops not only for killing some innocent teenage fishermen, but also for planting false evidence on the surviving victims to frame them for a crime they did not commit.
And that is, as said, just the short list to which now the sausage law can be added (eliminating environmental protection, police impunity, attack on worker's rights) and all the bumbling and stumbling that has invoked.
Mind you, dear reader, we're not even a year into this presidency. By this rate, in another six months he'll be holed up inside Las Garzas with protesters rattling the gates.
Related stories: US sub-secretary of commerce Francisco Sánchez said on a business forum that ratifying the free trade agreement with Panama is not on the agenda in the near future. Congrats, Martinelli!
And the real estate hustlers over at International Swindling Living get all the facts wrong in a fluff piece about Martinelli's first year in office, saying that he flies his own jet (in fact the government bought a brand new Embraer) and ignoring his cratered approval ratings and the above mentioned series of scandals, instead touting the non-existent metro project.