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The government of Panama is reported to be still hesitating to move the upcoming Labour Day public holiday from Friday, May 1st, to Monday, May 4th, 2009, under the días puente system.
The law 70 of 2007 (2007-11-29) established the principle of moving fixed-date public holidays falling on Tuesdays-Fridays to the following Monday. However, some public holidays, such as May 1st, were excluded from the list of public holidays that would automatically be moved to the following Monday (leaving open the option of case-by-case executive decrees).
This year, the issue is even more sensitive than usual, as Sunday, May 3rd, 2009, is the date of Panama's presidential elections. Some think that giving a day off on the day after an elections helps participation as those that have to travel to their home villages to vote have the following day to return to work without losing any wages.
But that is by no means a unanimous opinion, and chief amongst critics of a possible move of Labour Day to May 4th are the labour leader, Samuel Rivera, of the Central General de Trabajadores de Panamá, and the main other presidential candidate, Guillermo Endara.
In any case, the day of the presidential inauguration will be a public holiday in Panama (2009-01-09).
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