Generally, elected political representatives in Panama have the effective power to govern, yet there remain powerful stakeholders and economic elites, who wield considerable political influence over the country’s politics.

Private companies are considered to be the base of the economy and a regulatory framework facilitates their creation in a short period of time. Yet, the state-owned and mixed capital companies, especially the large Panama Canal Authority and the Colón Free Zone, are fundamental to the country’s economy too.

In general, there has been a lack of effective checks and balances to promote and enforce government accountability as there is no satisfactory ethical code to prevent conflicts of interest.

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