In the controversial presidential election in Nicaragua, incumbent Daniel Ortega is heading for a clear victory and thus for a fourth consecutive term. The electoral commission announced on Monday that after about half of the votes were counted, the former Marxist rebel leader had reached about 75 percent. The US government condemned Sunday’s election, citing a crackdown on dissent, calling it neither free nor fair and threatening new sanctions.
US President Joe Biden said Ortega, his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo “made a sham election.” Ortega called for the restoration of democracy in the Central American country and the release of imprisoned opposition leaders. Otherwise, the United States will use all “diplomatic and economic means” to hold Ortega’s government accountable.
Ortega has been ruling hard for years. Several opponents and opponents of Ortega were arrested in the months leading up to the elections. Only five unknown candidates from smaller Sandinista-aligned parties led by Ortega were allowed to vote. Observation of international elections by the European Union and the Organization of American States was not permitted.
Ortega, who played a leading role in the overthrow of the right-wing Somoza dictatorship in the late 1970s, was the region’s longest-serving head of state. In the 1980s, he was voted out of office after a while before returning to the presidency in 2007. In 2018, he violently suppressed protests against his government. More than 300 people were killed in the process. Since then, thousands of people have fled Nicaragua abroad, mainly to neighboring Costa Rica and the USA. Ortega claims to be defending Nicaragua against unscrupulous opponents who tried to overthrow him with the help of foreign powers.
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