Die Casting

Nicaraguan Officials Say President Wins 3rd Term

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – President Daniel Ortega won re-election into a third consecutive term as Nicaragua’s leader, electoral officials said Sunday since they released early results in an election that the opposition called a farce.

With about a fifth of ballots counted in the six-candidate presidential race, Ortega had more than 71% of the votes, the president of the Supreme Electoral Council, Roberto Rivas, stated.

Ortega hurried along with his wife following the opposition weakened in a race that pitted him against five candidates as his vice president.

The procedure was commended by Murillo, although critics of the authorities said the election was unfairly tilted against the opposition. Emerging together with her husband after casting their ballots shortly before the polls closed, she called the vote “an exemplary, historic election.”

There were no vote counts for 92 congressional seats that were also contested Sunday.

Rivas also said 65 percent of Nicaragua’s 3.8 million registered voters participated in the election. The resistance, which had urged people to boycott the vote, disputed that, contending turnout was reduced. The major opposition movement, the Broad Front for Democracy, estimated “more than 70 percent” of respondents did not cast ballots.

Ortega and his leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front have profited in the Central American nation’s steady economic growth and reduced levels of violence in comparison to El Salvador and Honduras. Most Nicaraguans also cite that the first lady’s social applications as a major reason for the party’s popularity.

But critics accused Ortega and his allies of manipulating the political strategy to guarantee he remained in power to get a new five-year term by controlling all branches of government, permitting indefinite presidential re-election and delegitimizing the only opposition force seen as capable of challenging him. They stated he wants to form a political dynasty with his wife.

“I really don’t think it’s worth wasting and voting time, as it’s already fixed,” Glenda Bendana, an appliance sales executive at a Managua shopping mall, stated. “Here they’ve taken away not our right to vote yet to choose. Ortega wants to die in power and leave his wife to take his place.”

Eva Duarte Castillo, using a diploma in marketing, was among those who went into the polls, though she didn’t say how she voted. “I came to vote because it’s not just my best as a taxpayer, it is also my duty. It’s a responsibility and that I exercised it. I am very happy,” she explained in a polling station at the capital’s Altamira Managua area.

In July, Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council effectively decimated the opposition by ousting nearly all its members out of congress — 28 busy and alternative legislators from your fledgling Independent Party and the allied Sandinista Renovation Movement — for refusing to comprehend Pedro Reyes because their chief. The Supreme Court appointed Reyes head of the resistance but is seen by many as a instrument of Ortega.

Many Nicaraguans viewed Ortega’s five challengers as weak opponents who were put to make it seem the president had competition.

After helping topple the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza as a Sandinista guerrilla leader, Ortega ruled Nicaragua in 1979-1990, then lost power in an electoral defeat. He returned to the presidency through the ballot box at 2007.

Ortega will be facing an increasingly difficult landscape in his new semester. Leftist ally Venezuela is overrun by an economic crisis and Cuba is normalizing relations with all the U.S.. The U.S. Congress is working on legislation to take the U.S. government to oppose loans to Nicaragua from international lending institutions.

“The absence of support, the global price of petroleum, the purchase price of our exports and the chance that (U.S. legislation extends) makes it a much more complicated outlook for its Ortega in the next semester,” said Oscar Rene Vargas, a sociologist and economist at Central American University.