By Karla E General
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – President Daniel Ortega has been accused of ‘undermining democracy’ in the recent mayoral elections held in Nicaragua amid allegations of fraud after refusing to allow international and local observers at the election polls.
Ortega’s party, the Sandinistas, were awarded 105 of the 146 mayoral seats in the November 9 elections, earning 19 more seats in the national government with the Liberal Constitution Party taking 37 seats and other parties winning the remaining 4. Opposition leaders claim to have lost as many as 50 seats because of corruption, and have demanded a recount of the votes as retribution: “We demand the total revision of all the electoral ballots and the voting acts in the country, with the presence of credible national and international observers,” said Liberal party boss and convict Arnoldo Aleman.
Representatives in the United States have also voiced concerns about the electoral fraud allegations. Republican U.S. congressmen Frank Wolf and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have sent letters to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an organization providing poor countries with funding, calling for the suspension of $175 million in aid “until it is adequately demonstrated that the Nicaraguan government is committed to demonstrating progress in ruling justly, investing in people and economic freedom.” European countries are also considering suspending aid to Nicaragua.
Ortega has stated that the proposed new elections and a voter recount is “illegal,” according to the Associated Press.
For more information, please see:
The New York Times – Sandinista Fervor Turns Sour for Former Comrades of Nicaragua’s President – 23 November 2008
The Wall Street Journal – Election Fraud in Nicaragua – 24 November 2008
Finding Dulcinea – Nicaraguan Elections Marred by Corruption Dispute and Violence – 25 November 2008