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Nicaraguan electoral observers fear exclusion

July 25, 2008

Nicaragua´s top electoral observation group fears it won´t receive credential from the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) to observe upcoming municipal elections.

Ethics and Transparency´s President Alta Hooker has now sent two letters to the CSE requesting that the council accredit the organization, without a response.

Hooker fears the CSE will retaliate against Ethics and Transparency for speaking out against the CSE´s recent decision to disqualify minority parties from the November municipal elections.

The organization´s executive director, Roberto Courtney, denied allegations that Ethics and Transparency recently participated in protests against the CSE´s decision.

“We´ve been clear that neutrality and independence are our biggest advantages,” Courtney said.

He said accreditation allows the organization to observe the calculation of votes, though he said observers can still participate in the elections as observers on the streets. He said if the government denies the organization accreditation, it will only cause a backlash and give the losers ammunition to challenge the validity of the elections.

“It´s possible that the losers say the CSE has no credibility,” Courtney said.

Courtney also spoke out against a spat of violence between Sandinistas and liberals that occurred earlier this week in Managua during the voter registration process.

“We´re demanding that the elections happen in peace,” Courtney said.

The Supreme Electoral Council´s press office did respond to requests for comment by press time yesterday.

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