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Montealegre refutes political negotiation in Nicaragua

November 28, 2008

Managua mayoral hopeful Eduardo Montealegre stood his ground yesterday, saying his opposition contingent – Vamos Con Eduardo, the “We´re Going with Eduardo” movement – categorically refuses any attempt to negotiate a political solution to the country´s governability crisis with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front.

Montealegre´s statement echoes the position reiterated on Sunday by the opposition Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), which says there is “nothing to negotiate” with the Sandinistas if the electoral results from the Nov. 9 municipal elections are not respected.

Montealegre, the PLC candidate for mayor of Managua, insists he won the popular vote and that the PLC and Vamos con Eduardo alliance members won a majority of the elections across the country, despite official results that gave the Sandinistas victory in Managua and most of Nicaragua. The disagreement over the elections has resulted in a government gridlock.

“Our position is that there has to be a recount in each municipality,” Montealegre said, adding that if a recount doesn´t happen, the opposition lawmakers will vote to annul the Nov. 9 elections and demand a revote.

“For this reason, there is nothing to negotiate with the Sandinista Front, not today, not tomorrow and not the day after tomorrow, so long as they don´t respect the will of the people of Nicaragua,” Montealegre said in a statement.

Montealegre´s comments come after PLC lawmaker Francisco Aguirre, a confidant of party boss and incarcerated former President Arnoldo Alemán, said there needs to be a new political accord between the Sandinistas and PLC to provide a basic stability to the country and allow it to move forward.

The PLC later rejected Aguirre´s comments and said the high-ranking party official was not speaking on behalf of the party.

Political pundits have speculated that President Daniel Ortega´s Sandinistas and Alemán´s Liberals will eventually seek a political accord – a redefinition of the terms of the decade-old power-sharing political pact, or “ el pacto ” – to resolve the crisis.

High-ranking Sandinista officials, including Supreme Court judge Rafael Solís, have already started lobbying for a semi-parliamentary system to replace Nicaragua´s current presidential system. The idea is one that Ortega has advocated for several years, and something that critics have long warned could be the force behind the pacto – a political system that would allow Ortega and Alemán to solidify their bipartisan rule over Nicaragua, one as president and the other as prime minister.

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