General Omar Torrijos, the de facto ruler of Panama, was sworn into power on Wednesday(October 11) in a ceremony which also included the investiture of his titular President and Vice-President.
GV EXT. Building where ceremony held
GV INT. Audience (2 shots)
CU Lakas, TRACK TO Torrijos
SV President, General & Vice-President taking oath
TV Audience applaud
SV President receives sash
SV President and General embrace
Nueve Panama Gymnasium; audience; President Demetrio Lakas; Vice-President Arturo Sucre; General Omar Torrijos'oath-taking ceremony; General Torrijos and President embracing.
Initials SGM/2230 SGM/2200
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Background: General Omar Torrijos, the de facto ruler of Panama, was sworn into power on Wednesday(October 11) in a ceremony which also included the investiture of his titular President and Vice-President.
General Torrijos came to power after a coup four years ago. He has remained in his former position as commander of the 10,000-men National Guard, but his role as leader was acknowledged by the 505-member Assembly of Community Representatives in September, when it acclaimed his as "maximum leader of the Panamanian revolution".
The Assembly vested General Torrijos with extraordinary powers when it met on September 11 after the election. The Assembly will met only once a year, and most law-making functions will be operated by a "legislative council" appointed by General Torrijos. The latest legislation provided for all priests to be Panamanian-born, and all business managers and executives to be nationals, unless no suitably-qualified Panamanian was available.
One major decision facing General Torrijos is the Future of the Panama Canal Zone. The 500-square miles(nearly 1,300 Sq kilometres) of the Zone is strongly influenced by the United States, which has a strong presence there - both military and civilian. General Torrijos has been pressing panama's rights to the Zone, but negotiations were suspended three months ago until after the US Presidential Elections. Observers have predicted a new treaty under which most of the Canal Zone will revert to Panama, while the United States will retain administration of the actual canal, paying Panama rent.
General Torrijos had been actively working for support from the country districts. One achievement of his regime has been the boosting of a national consciousness. A government programme has pressed for the use of Spanish universally, and has considerably improved the links between the scattered, multi-racial, often isolated communities which make up Panama's 1,500,000 population. But critics of his rule say that political freedom is suppressed, and the Press is government-controlled.
SYNOPSIS: The flags were out in Panama City on Wednesday for the formal investiture of the head of state. Although the present regime has been in power for four years, it had not been officially installed.
Senor Demetrio Lakas continues to hold the title of President, but General Omar Torrijos is the real leader of Panama. Everybody accepts that he rules the country and he took his oath of office alongside President Lakas, and Vice-President Arturo Sucre.
Panamanians have given General Torrijos the nickname "maximum leader of the revolution" and he continues to rule from his position as commander of the National Guard. It was the loyalty of his ten thousand men which brought him power when he toppled the previous government in a coup d'etat. BRING UP SOUND FOR TEN SECONDS The President will rule nominally with an Assembly of five hundred and five representatives, who were elected in September. But the Assembly will only meet annually, and decisions will be made by a cabinet appointed by General Torrijos. One of the major forthcoming issues is the future of the Panama Canal Zone. Observers predict that the United States will return much of it to Panama.