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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Ortega’s party in Nicaragua “seizes” five opposition municipalities and replaces mayors

Five mayorships in the hands of the Nicaraguan opposition were “arbitrarily seized” by councilmen of President Daniel Ortega’s party, who appointed new pro-government mayors, denounced the aggrieved, with four months to go before the municipal elections.

These municipalities were led by members of the opposition Ciudadanos por la Libertad (CxL, right wing), a party whose legal status was withdrawn by the government in 2021, a situation which was taken advantage of by councilmen of the ruling ex-guerrilla Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

The municipal governments are those of the municipalities of El Cuá, San Sebastián de Yalí and Santa María de Pantasma, in the jurisdiction of Jinotega (north); in addition to Murra, in the department of Nueva Segovia (north); and El Almendro, in Río San Juan (south). So far there has been no official pronouncement.

Sandinistas occupy positions

“The mayor’s offices are taken and the FSLN councilmen already have their mayor and vice-mayor. They distributed the positions among themselves”, said to AFP Noel Moreno, defenestrated councilman of San Sebastián de Yalí.

The measure was executed under the allegation that “we do not have a party or legal status”, said Moreno.

The seizure of the mayor’s offices took place between Saturday and Monday with the deployment of anti-riot forces under the command of FSLN political leaders, who raised the FSLN flag in the occupied premises, according to the denouncers.

“Four months before the municipal elections [November 6], the regime arbitrarily seized four opposition mayors’ offices that were in the hands of the Citizens for Liberty (CxL-right) party”, denounced on Monday the electoral observation organization Urnas Abiertas in relation to the number of local governments seized on Monday by the ruling party.

The NGO, integrated by specialists in electoral issues, denounced an “absence of democratic conditions” in the run-up to the November 6 municipal elections.

From exile, the president of CxL, Kitty Monterrey, “strongly condemned” the occupation of local governments and demanded “respect for the physical integrity” of former councilors and workers.

In 2017, CxL won elections in five of the 18 municipalities held by the opposition, while 135 went to the FSLN.

In August 2021, CxL, which led an opposition alliance to compete with Ortega in general elections, was disqualified by the electoral tribunal. The pre-candidates of that grouping were imprisoned.

Ortega’s Election

Ortega, in power since 2007, He was reelected in November for a fourth consecutive term with most of his rivals imprisoned or in exile, amid international questioning and sanctions.

Monterrey considered that the government “is confirming that it has no interest in rehabilitating the electoral path”, which, he assures, “continues to be fundamental for Nicaragua to emerge from this deep crisis”.

In 2018, massive protests against a reform to the social security system that resulted in a demand for Ortega’s resignation left 355 dead and thousands exiled, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The 76 year-old president considers that the demonstrations were an attempted coup d’état by his political rivals with the help of the United States, an event which, according to the government, was intended to be replicated in the framework of the 2021 elections.

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