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Nicaragua to hold general elections

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Nicaragua to hold general elections

Maynor Valenzuela Reuters
Photo: Maynor Valenzuela/Reuters

Nicaraguans will head to the polls today to vote in a general election.

Voters will cast ballots for a president, all 92 members of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, and the country’s 20 representatives to the Central American Parliament.

Several international observers have already declared the election a sham. Incumbent President Daniel Ortega of the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) decided in August to arrest and jail the majority of opposition candidates and a number of his former allies, effectively leaving him as the only real candidate on the ballot. This move is a continuation of the repressive policies Ortega introduced in the wake of widespread anti-government protests which saw hundreds killed and thousands arrested.

Given the lack of real opponents—as well as the opposition’s calls for a boycott—expect a landslide reelection for Ortega. The FSLN is also likely to maintain, if not expand, its 71-seat majority in the National Assembly.

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Moreover, expect immediate international condemnation of Ortega and the election’s results. The US, for example, has labeled Ortega a dictator and passed a bill on Wednesday expanding sanctions on election officials in the government with additional measures likely if government repression increases at the current rate.

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