Sunday 07 November 2021
Clear outflow in Nicaragua
The president eliminates the enemy before the election
In the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega has shut down opposition opponents. There is no doubt in his mind before the referendum. The US government calls the election a “mockery.” It helps to “keep the dictator in power”.
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Nicaragua with strict security precautions. Following the imprisonment of the president, opposition politicians, journalists and activists for the past 14 years, the current Daniel Ortega’s victory in the state presidential election was considered certain. Instead of promising opponents, five largely unknown candidates competed against the 75-year-old Ortega.
The number of voters expecting real support for Ortega will be very interesting. There is no compulsory voting in the Central American country of 6.5 million people. The weak opposition had called for a boycott of the election, which was monitored by 30,000 security forces. Like most international media, international audiences are not allowed.
“It’s not bad (…) it’s scary: you can’t talk, otherwise they’ll put you in jail,” said Jose, 78, of Nicaragua. “Why should I vote?”
Two-thirds would have voted for members of the opposition
Two-thirds of respondents recently said they would have voted for one of the imprisoned opposition candidates if they had been allowed to vote for polling station Cid-Gallup. Journalist Christiana Zamoro was the most promising challenge to the current head of state. The daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro has been under house arrest since early June and has been expelled from the election.
Chamorro and six opposition presidential candidates were arrested in connection with a law passed by parliament in December that would help disqualify opposition candidates from running in the election. Opposition politicians have been accused of money laundering, treason or attacks on Nicaragua’s sovereignty. Congress, like the judiciary and election officials, is controlled by the president’s allies.
Ortega was already president in the 1980s, having previously contributed to the overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979 as commander of the guerrilla FSLN. Ortega was ousted in 1990. In 2007 he was re-elected to the top post.
Sanctions against the government of Ortega
Critics accuse Ortega of creating an increasingly dictatorial and repressive government over the years. He repealed the constitutional provisions governing the presidency. In 2018, mass protests against Ortega were violently suppressed by security forces, killing more than 300 people.
The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Ortega and his government. In the run-up to Sunday’s vote, the United States and the European Union stepped up pressure on Ortega. The US Congress passed a law on Wednesday that, among other things, tightens sanctions against its government.
The US government called the election a “mockery” and EU Foreign Representative Joseph Borel called it a “fake” election. All of this, Borel said, “keeps the dictator Ordega in power.” He announced that Brussels would not recognize the election result. Ortega, one of the most important allies, including Venezuela, Cuba and Russia, has accused the United States and the European Union of “interfering” in its internal affairs.
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