The Mugabe of Latin America

Daniel Ortega unintentionally inaugurated an era of electoral democracy in Nicaragua when he lost power in 1990. Now, two years into his presidential term, Ortega's Sandinistas stand accused of rigging the country' local elections in order to ensure the adoption of a constitutional amendment that will allow him to run again.

MANAGUA – Like thousands of Nicaraguans, I voted for Managua’s mayor in local elections last November. After the voting, the authorities of my jurisdiction posted a copy of the certificate of results on the door of the Electoral Board, which registered 155 votes for the opposition candidate, 76 votes for the candidate of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and two votes for other candidates.

The next day, however, the results from my board were not included on the Supreme Electoral Board (CSE) Web site with the results of Managua, and victory was awarded to the FSLN candidate.

It has taken months to find this out, but the same thing happened in 660 other local boards: roughly 120,000 votes – 30% of the total – were never made public. If the results of these boards had been counted, the opposition would have won the capital’s mayoralty by a wide margin.

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