Tuesday, October 19

The false ‘competitors’ against Daniel Ortega in the Nicaraguan elections




A little less than a month after the general elections are held in Nicaragua, the term ‘zancudo’ (mosquito) take strenght. Nicaraguans use it to refer to all political parties that, instead of being a true opposition, support the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, who rule with a heavy hand. On the ballot for November 7 – the date on which an anomalous election will take place – five of these political groups will be next to the ballot box. Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). None of them strong enough to overshadow him.

False competitors have no chance of winning. They do not have a political proposal, and most of their applicants are unknown. Many of them do not have collegiate bodies, congress or territorial structures. Its sole purpose is to obtain a seat in Parliament after the results of the elections.

The scheduled matches and with a marked trail of collaborationism are the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, Alliance for the Republic, Nicaraguan Christian Way, Independent Liberal Party and Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance. The evidence of his unconditional support for the regime is evidenced by his null opposition. All of them have given their vote in favor of the regime in parliamentary sessions, regardless of whether a law is repressive or violates human rights. “We are talking about parties that would not even reach one percent, and that even then will receive an electoral refund. It all comes down to a question of salaries, seats or money ”, explains the doctor in sociology and analyst Jose Alcazar.

Political propaganda banner of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI) – EFE

Electoral reform

One of the reforms to the Electoral Law that Ortega executed in mid-May consisted of reward this ingrained practice. The old provisions dictated that only those who obtained more than four percent of the vote would be entitled to a reimbursement for campaign expenses. With the changes, any party that participates will be reimbursed, even if it has less than one percent. That is to say, ‘stilt walkers’ outright. «The term has been a constant. At the beginning of the century we have seen socialists folded into military regimes like those of Somoza to guarantee survival. The FSLN promoted it in the 1980s, by agreeing and including in its General Directorate sectors that were ideologically incompatible with them, “says Alcázar.

A) Yes, the regime paved the way for its continuity. The reforms tripped the candidates with the greatest credibility within the opposition movements that emerged after the protests of April 2018, in which 327 people were killed, according to a report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). But the final blow came with the new wave of arrests carried out by the government. As of press time, 37 people have been imprisoned – seven of them real opposition candidates. Most of the detainees are tried for the crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity” and “laundering money, property and assets,” contemplated in the country’s Penal Code.

“The tactic of using judicial and electoral institutions to prevent the most challenging contenders from participating in the electoral process is not new. The novelty that was introduced this year was the mass incarceration of high-level figures »

In addition to the fierce repression, the CSE canceled two political parties that would be electoral vehicles for these candidates after internal elections. Citizens for Freedom (CxL) and the Democratic Restoration Party (PRD) They were removed from the race for having connections with the movements that emerged in 2018.

“The tactic of using judicial and electoral institutions to prevent the most challenging contenders from participating in the electoral process is not new. The novelty that was introduced this year was the mass incarceration of high-level figures, “he explained. Tiziano Breda, Crisis Group Analyst for Central America to ABC. “In addition, Ortega has always been able to count on the support of parties that have a very minimal electoral base. They are the only ones who benefit from this situation, by having seats or functions in other institutions ”, adds Breda.

Unknown candidates

Alexa Zamora is a member of the Blue and White National Unit (UNAB), one of the largest social groups in the country, but despite its long work on advocacy and politics, it has no idea where the current candidates for president and vice president came from. The only known names are those of Ortega and Murillo. “I don’t know any of them,” he says while laughing. The ignorance in Nicaragua is such that none of them outlines in the surveys carried out by the CID Gallup firm during the first semester of 2021. Quite the contrary, the names that rebounded were silenced with jail, as in the case of Cristiana Chamorro, former director of the Violeta Barrios Foundation. Chamorro was one of the best valued, in large part because of the moral legacy that her family represents for the country. She is the daughter of the journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, assassinated by the Somoza dictatorship in 1978 and Violeta Barrios, the first Nicaraguan president who defeated the eternal Sandinista leader in the early 1990s. A situation that Ortega was not going to allow for the second time.

Walter Espinoza, candidate for the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, campaigning
Walter Espinoza, candidate for the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, campaigning – REUTERS

Despite evidence of upcoming electoral fraud, the Foreign Minister Denis Moncada He assured the United Nations General Assembly that “the people will elect their authorities on November 7.” A statement far from the reality of Nicaraguans, who face the same dilemma as the past elections, “was the appeal of various sectors of civil society at that time, and everything indicates that this time the slogan will be repeated.

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