Nicaragua: Sandinistas prevail in questionable elections

MEXICO CITY (HPD) — Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won Sunday’s disputed municipal elections, already winning all the mayoralties scrutinized so far, 112 out of a total of 153, according to an official report. preliminary released Monday.

The Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) awarded the victory to the “United Nicaragua Triunfa” alliance, led by the FSLN, led by President Daniel Ortega, in 112 municipalities that include the mayor’s office of Managua, the capital, which returned to remain in hands of the Sandinista Reyna Rueda.

The official report does not include the remaining 41 municipalities where the scrutiny is pending.

The elections were held to elect 153 mayors, 153 deputy mayors and more than 6,000 councilors. The FSLN already controlled 141 municipalities, after having occupied last July, through police action, five mayoralties that were in the hands of the opposition Citizens for Freedom (CxL) party, which was outlawed in 2021.

The other 12 municipalities have been, until today, under the control of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) and the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN), which the opposition considers “collaborators.”

Ortega, 76, governed for the first time from 1985 to 1990 and returned to power in 2007, later re-electing himself three times in elections where the opposition denounced “fraud.” Since 2016 he co-governs with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

Sunday’s elections, from which three opposition parties were excluded, were held after new police raids in six departments of the country, according to the independent observatory Urnas Abiertas, which denounced more than 700 cases of “political violence”, such as sieges, coercion and the capture of 17 people from November 1 to 6.

According to that organization, not endorsed by the government, only 17.3 percent of the 3.7 million Nicaraguans eligible to vote participated in the voting, which shows an abstention rate of more than 82.6 percent. . The total population of Nicaragua is about 6.6 million inhabitants.

The president of the CSE, Brenda Rocha, said that the electoral process was “a civic and sovereign exercise” that concluded “successfully”, but did not give figures on citizen participation in the polls.

In a first evaluation of the day, Open Ballot Boxes pointed out that the elections were held “under absolute control” by the FSLN in the territories, where people were “surveilled by the ruling party from block to block” to force them to vote or to besiege them in case to be opponents.

According to the report, public employees were “pressured” to vote and in 63% of the polling stations observed “the installation of checkpoints” and surveillance by Sandinista political operators was verified, to find out who was going to vote. vote and who doesn’t.

In 42% of the voting centers observed, there were cases of people who were not found on the electoral roll, some of whom were “assaulted and expelled” from the precinct, while in 41% of the centers “political proselytism” was detected. ”since there were posters of the Sandinista party and electoral personnel dressed in party propaganda, indicated Urnas Abiertas.

Nicaragua is experiencing a serious political crisis that erupted with the social protests of April 2018, when the repression by police and paramilitaries left 355 dead, 2,000 injured, more than 1,600 detained at different times and 100,000 exiled, most of them refugees in Costa Rica. .

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