Ortega seeks fifth term as Nicaragua leader

Managua, Aug 2 (EFE).- Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega registered Monday as a candidate for the November election, and for the second consecutive time with his wife Rosario Murillo as candidate for the vice presidency.

Ortega, a former Sandinista guerrilla who returned to power 14 years and six months ago after coordinating a government junta from 1979 to 1985 and presiding over the country for the first time from 1985 to 1990, will seek his fifth five-year term – his fourth in a row and second along with his wife.

The candidacies of Ortega, about to turn 76, and Murillo, 70, were ratified by the National Congress of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) virtually, and later registered before the electoral body.

The president has spent half his life as the undisputed leader of the FSLN, a party for which he was the only presidential candidate in the elections of 1984, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 and now 2021.

The ex-guerrilla is the Nicaraguan politician who has run the most times as a presidential candidate (eight), and also the head of state with the longest time in power, with 25 years and 7 months.

Ortega is seeking to renew his mandate with his main contenders imprisoned. They are being investigated for alleged treason, and he has branded them “criminals” and accused them of trying to overthrow him with the support of the United States.

The leader was re-elected in 2016 with 72.4 percent of the votes in a poll in which the main opposition coalition did not participate after being affected by a series of judicial decisions that left it without its main party, while the electoral body and the parliamentary leadership, controlled by supporters of Ortega, removed most of their deputies.

In the 2011 elections, despite the fact that the constitution prohibited it, Ortega ran as a candidate for the presidency thanks to a legal maneuver that bypassed the constitutional rule that stood between him and his goal of remaining in power for five more years.

In the current electoral process, the Nicaraguan authorities have arrested more than 30 opposition leaders, including seven presidential candidates.

The Supreme Electoral Council, controlled by supporters of Ortega, has also canceled the legality of two political parties, and parliament, where the ruling party has an absolute majority, reformed the electoral law, establishing greater control over the electoral structure in favor of the Sandinistas.

The authorities have so far not accredited any electoral observers.

Ortega will contest the presidency on Nov. 7 next to six opposition candidates, among them a former commander of the Nicaraguan Resistance, Oscar Sobalvarro.

Opposition sectors, such as the Blue and White National Unity, have called the upcoming election a farce, and asked the West not to acknowledge the results.

In Nicaragua, a Central American country of 6.5 million residents, some 4.3 million are eligible to vote. EFE


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