chapter  5
24 Pages

Institutionalization of the Revolution: A New National Constitutional Structure

WithGeorge Priestley

This chapter describes the representatives’ struggle for meaningful political participation at the national level. The Commission on Constitutional Reforms worked within an ideological framework defined by the military and the hybrid executive-legislative National Legislative Commission. There were recommendations to change the assembly’s internal rules to provide for three types of consultation: provincial consultation, joint consultation, and national consultation. National consultation was of grave concern to Omar Torrijos because it would have given the National Assembly of Community Representatives the power to call full plenary meetings on any question it wished. Only days after the October Revolution, the military had disbanded the National Assembly and political parties that were the institutional expression of the oligarchy’s customary power. “Revolution” meant a national transformation so that all sectors of the Republic could participate in its well-being and its national riches. That transformation had to be institutionalized--given a juridical basis--to promote development and combat the structures of injustice in an orderly and responsible manner.