Nicaragua awaiting unsurprising results of a presidential election phagocytosed by the Ortega couple

While suspense is non-existent over the verdict of the presidential elections in Nicaragua, polling stations closed in the Central American country at 6 p.m. local time on Sunday, November 7, and the first results are expected around midnight (7 a.m. Monday, in Paris), according to the electoral tribunal.

Only the participation rate could give an idea of ​​the real adherence of Nicaraguans to the “ticket” formed by Daniel Ortega, guaranteed at 75 to be re-elected for a fourth term of five years, and his wife Rosario Murillo, 70, vice-president since 2017. The repression that has hit opponents of the president since 2018 deprives these elections of any credibility.

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The United States vigorously denounced the poll. “What the President of Nicaragua and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, orchestrated today is a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and certainly not democratic”said US President Joe Biden, quoted in a White House statement on “Elections-comedy in Nicaragua”.

Conversely, the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro congratulated his counterpart without waiting for the result. “Imperialism and its crawling allies in Europe point the finger at Nicaragua, but there are people who love Nicaragua, there are people who defend Nicaragua”, he said in a televised address, announcing his intention to visit the Central American country soon.

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Door to door to mobilize voters

The streets were almost deserted on Sunday in Managua. Fearing low turnout, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN, ex-guerrilla in power) organized door-to-door tours during the day to mobilize voters.

After placing his ballot in the ballot box, President Ortega accused his opponents of being “Demons (…) who choose violence, denigration, slander, campaigns so that Nicaragua is again in the grip of violent confrontations, of war ”. The arrested candidates “Conspired, they did not want these elections to take place because they have long since sold their soul to the empire [nord-américain] and live on their knees calling for attacks against Nicaragua ”, he justified.

Journalists from several international media, including CNN and the Washington Post, were denied access to the territory, and the government refused the presence of independent observers. However, on Saturday, the authorities accredited around 200 handpicked “electoral assistants” and journalists. « militants sandinistes » foreigners, according to Urnas Abiertas, an independent observatory.

“Stay at home”

Nearly a thousand Nicaraguan exiles in Costa Rica demonstrated in San José on November 7, 2021, against their country's presidential elections.

Decapitated, its leaders in detention or in exile, the opposition organized a demonstration of about a thousand people in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, where more than 100,000 Nicaraguans took refuge. Opponents had only one slogan for voters: “Stay at home”.

The five candidates registered to face the head of state are considered by the opposition as stooges compromised with power. According to a Cid-Gallup poll, if they had had the choice, 65% of the 4.4 million registered voters would have voted for an opposition candidate, against 19% for the incumbent.

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“It’s horrible: we can’t talk, otherwise we put you in jail. Why would I vote? Only the Sandinistas will vote ”, denounced José, 78, who supported the FSLN for decades.

Conversely, Marina Aguirre, 36, was determined to vote: “We have free schools and hospitals (…) [Daniel Ortega] make sure every child has toys every year ”.

Hunting opponents

Three years after the repression which left more than 300 dead among the demonstrators who demanded in the spring of 2018 the resignation of Daniel Ortega, and six months before the election, the hunt for opponents is raging: 39 politicians, businessmen, peasants , students and journalists have been arrested since June. Among them, the seven potential candidates likely to pose a threat to the incumbent president.

Favorite of the opposition in the polls, Cristiana Chamorro, 67, daughter of ex-president Violeta Chamorro (1990-1997), was the first to be arrested, on June 2, and placed in house arrest.

Opponents are accused of undermining national sovereignty, of supporting international sanctions against Nicaragua, of “Betrayal of the motherland” or from “Money laundering”, under laws passed at the end of 2020 by Parliament, acquired by the executive, just like the judiciary and the electoral tribunal.

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Fear runs in the small Central American country of 6.5 million people, the poorest in the region and plagued since the unrest of 2018 with inflation, unemployment and the coronavirus pandemic, including the he magnitude is denied by power. Since the protests of spring 2018, more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have gone into exile.

Hero of the revolution, the former guerrilla Daniel Ortega is today accused by his opponents of acting in the same way as the dictator Anastasio Somoza whom he helped to overthrow in 1979.

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The World with AFP

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Nicaragua awaiting unsurprising results of a presidential election phagocytosed by the Ortega couple