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Ortega criticizes opposition’s candidate for Managua mayor

October 24, 2008

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega launched new attacks against the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) legislator and Managua mayoral candidate Eduardo Montealegre, who is currently leading in the polls.

Ortega, in an official appearance with mayor candidate Alexis Argüello, of Ortega´s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), said Montealegre represents the “oligarchy” and the “Cenis,” a reference to the recent $600 million banking bailout scandal.

Montealegre was accused last July by the Public Ministry for crimes against the economy, fraud and influencing the distribution of the controversial bond-like Negotiable Investment Certificates, known as Cenis.

The opposition´s candidate has been acquitted in the financial scandal, which left Nicaragua with a debt of close to $400 million and has called the accusations “political” and part of Ortega´s plan to turn “the country little by little to a dictatorship.”

The president mocked Montealegre, who, by his own admission, “didn´t know now much the fare cost” on public transportation vehicles in the capital.

Ortega added that it was “logical” that Montealegre, who has part of his campaign last week rode around on several public transportation buses, wouldn´t have “any idea” how much the fare cost because “it´s the first time in his life he´s ridden a bus.”

He joked with Argüello, a former world boxing champion, that the two had been riding buses since they were young.

“I don´t find it strange that Montealegre should be from the oligarchy,” said Ortega.

This is the second time in a week Ortega has attacked Montealegre.

On Friday, Ortega said that if the legislator won the election, he would leave “nothing” for Managua´s city hall.

Montealegre, who yesterday received the endorsement from Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) leaders, a party formed by Sandinista dissidents, has said that the attacks by Ortega are the FSLN´s “last gasps.”

“The only thing Ortega is demonstrating in attacking me is desperation, because the people of Managua favor me,” he said.

The Sandinistas have held the Managua mayorship, the country´s leading political office after the presidency, for over eight years.

Nicaragua will elect mayors, deputy mayors and city council members on Nov. 9 in 146 of the country´s 153 districts. The other seven, all on the northern Caribbean coast, will hold theirs in January.

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