"Nicaragua’s Ortega appears headed for reelection" by Luis Manuel Galeano Associated Press November 07, 2016
MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Daniel Ortega appeared to have a clear path to a third consecutive term as Nicaragua’s president — this time accompanied by his wife as vice president — in Sunday’s presidential vote.
Polls showed the former guerrilla fighter was likely to receive more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a runoff. He was running with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his vice presidential candidate.
Ortega and his leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front have benefited from the Central American country’s steady economic growth and low levels of violence compared with neighboring Honduras and El Salvador.
Many Nicaraguans also cite Murillo’s social programs as a major reason for the governing party’s popularity.
But critics accused Ortega and his allies of manipulating the political system to guarantee he stays in power by dominating all branches of government, allowing indefinite presidential reelection, and delegitimizing the only opposition force seen as capable of challenging him. They accuse him of wanting to form a political dynasty with his wife.
‘‘I don’t think it’s worth voting and wasting time, because it’s already fixed,’’ said Glenda Bendana, an appliance sales executive in a Managua shopping mall. ‘‘Here they have taken away not our right to vote, but to choose. Ortega wants to die in power and leave his wife to take his place.’’
In July, Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council effectively decimated the opposition by ousting almost all its members from Congress — 28 active and alternate legislators from the Liberal Independent Party and the allied Sandinista Renovation Movement — for refusing to recognize Pedro Reyes as their leader. Reyes was named as head of the opposition by the Supreme Court but is seen by many as a tool of Ortega. The ousted legislators had supported former opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre.
Since then, the most powerful opposition forces have moved to the sidelines of the nation’s politics, urging Nicaraguans to join their boycott of the election, which they call a ‘‘farce.’’
Many Nicaraguans, including political analyst Carlos Tunnerman, believe that the five other presidential candidates are not true opponents, but were placed on the ballot to make it seem that Ortega has legitimate competition.
Like Sanders, even though they ended up having to steal it from him?
‘‘The only thing they are looking to do is play along with Ortega, permitting him to get additional small bits of power in the National Assembly,’’ Tunnerman said.
The US House of Representatives has moved to punish Nicaragua since the opposition was gutted, passing a bill to require the United States to oppose loans to Nicaragua from international lending institutions unless the country takes ‘‘effective steps to hold free, fair, and transparent elections.’’
How about cleaning up your own House first?
"President Daniel Ortega overwhelmingly won election to a third consecutive term as Nicaragua’s leader, according to results released Monday, even as the opposition called the voting a farce. Critics of the government said the election was unfairly tilted against the opposition, but turnout was low...."