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Sandinista dissidents support candidacy of Montealegre

October 24, 2008

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Leaders from the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) opposition party yesterday publicly backed Eduardo Montealegre in his run for Managua mayor, according to political sources.

MRS leaders, including Edmundo Jarquín, ex-Sandinista guerrilla Dora María Téllez, former lawmakers Victor Hugo Tinoco, Enrique Sáenz and Hugo Torres, endorsed Montealegre yesterday, citing the Liberal Constitutional Party candidate´s opposition to the “dictatorship and persecution” by President Daniel Ortega´s administration and his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party against their political opposition.

Lawmaker Hugo Torres pointed out that figures of national pride such as the poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal and singer-author Carlos Mejía Godoy “are still vilified and abused” by the Ortega government.

“This is the same Somocista attitude that we Sandinistas encountered when we were fighting against the (Anastasio) Somoza dictatorship,” said Torres, who served as foreign minister under the first Sandinista government from 1979 to 1990.

The MRS leader added that the Ortega administration has also threatened civil society human rights organizations, including lawyer Vilma Núñez de Escorcia and her management team; journalists Carlos Fernando Chamorro Barrios, Sofía Montenegro, Patricia Orozco and others; and the Civil Coordinating Committee, a citizen movement that includes some 600 nongovernmental organizations, social movements and individuals.

Téllez stated, “We are not supporting Eduardo Montealegre under the table, nor do we have a policy of throwing stones and hiding our hands (‘ tirar la piedra y esconder la mano´ ). The MRS in Managua and throughout the country is calling on everyone to vote against the dictatorship.”

Téllez also asked PLC lawmakers not to approve a proposal for constitutional reform that would permit Ortega to be reelected to the presidency, should it be presented in the parliament.

Jarquín, MRS coalition coordinator, emphasized that the support for Montealegre and his running mate Enrique Quiñonez was not personally motivated, as some media outlets had stated, but that the decision had been made unanimously by MRS leadership.

“One cannot say that there is conflict between revolution and counterrevolution, because, for starters, there is no revolution in Nicaragua, if not a regression to the worst forms of dictatorial governance that we are all too familiar with,” said Jarquín.

Montealegre, for his part, said that he maintained solidarity with the MRS in light of the Supreme Electoral Council´s June 11 resolution that invalidated the party´s legal status, excluding it from current electoral contests, a move he attributed to “ Ortegan violations and abuses of power.”

Montealegre also said that he would not support a constitutional amendment that would permit Ortega´s reelection.

Nicaragua will hold municipal elections in 146 of 153 districts on Nov. 9. Elections in the other seven municipalities, all in the North Caribbean, will take place Jan. 18.

Montealegre holds a slight lead of 36.4 percent in the race for Managua mayor over FSLN candidate and former boxing champion Alexis Argüello, who has 32 percent support, according to a poll published last week by the Nicaraguan group, MyR.

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