Nicaragua’s Ortega wins new term after opponents jailed

Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega won a fourth consecutive presidential term on Monday in elections denounced by the U.S. as a “sham,” with the long-term Nicaraguan leader deriding his opponents — most of them jailed or in exile — as “terrorists.”

With ballots in 49% of polling stations counted, Mr. Ortega had 75% of votes, according to official partial results from the country’s Supreme Electoral Council.

With seven would-be presidential challengers detained since June, the 75-year-old was assured a fourth consecutive five-year term — his fifth overall.

The five contenders he did face have been dismissed by critics as regime loyalists.

Late on Sunday night, some of Mr. Ortega’s followers began to celebrate on the streets of the capital Managua even before the final result.

“Yes we did it, Daniel, Daniel!” they shouted in several neighbourhoods as fireworks went off.

Biden denounces poll

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement on Sunday that the outcome was “rigged” long before the “sham” election.

“What Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, orchestrated today was a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and most certainly not democratic,” the president said, adding the pair now run Nicaragua “as autocrats.”

Mr. Ortega, a former guerilla hero, launched a new attack on his opponents on Sunday, saying: “This day we are standing up to those who promote terrorism, finance war, to those who sow terror, death.”

He was referring to Nicaraguans who took part in massive protests against his government in 2018, which were met with a violent crackdown that claimed over 300 lives in Central America’s poorest country.

Some 150 people have been jailed since then, including 39 opposition figures.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 1:20:20 pm |