We’re now less than a month from the November 6th presidential elections here in Nicaragua. Campaigning officially started a few months ago, but just as in the U.S., candidates have been posturing and bashing each other for the past year or so.


One frustrating aspect of heightened campaigning here in Nicaragua has been the near halt to public transportation every.single.weekend for the last few weeks. Current president, Daniel Ortega, has been giving speeches in various parts of Nicaragua and contracts the public buses to haul hoards of people from Managua to the city where is giving his speech. Many people who don’t work on weekends (or are unemployed and don’t work at all) enjoy the free ride, free meal, and free T-shirt at these political rallies. It will be interesting to see if these hoards of people, who’s overwhelming attendance at Ortega’s rallies make it seem like he will win the election easily, actually vote for Daniel in November.  On the flip side, those left in Managua who are trying to get to work, the market, church, or basically just go about their daily lives, have no way of getting around they city and frustrations are rising. This past week Ortega announced that he will no longer be using city buses to transport supporters to his events.

A (very) Brief Profile of the Candidates

  • Arnoldo Alemán (PLC) – expresident from 1996-2001. Listed in Transparency International’s Top 10 most corrupt world leaders due to embezzelment of funds after Hurricane Mitch. 
  • Daniel Ortega (FSLN) – current president, and president during the 1980’s after the Sandinista revolution. Through some deft political maneuvering (or possibly ilegal political maneuvering depending on who you talk to) was able to get the Nicaraguan Constitution, which prohibits reelection, changed so that he can run again. Currently in 1st place. 
  • Eduardo Quiñonez (ALN) – has no chance of winning, just wants a seat in the legislative branch
  • Róger Guevara (APRE) – same as the guy above
  • Fabio Gadea (PLI) – aka “Pancho Madrigal”, famed Nicaraguan radio personality. 80+ years old and currently in 2nd place. 
The elections
So who will win in November? The Sandinistas (Ortega’s party) seem ready to win at all costs. The party has been in power of the past five years and most people would agree that the average Nicaraguan rural farmworker is better off as a result of government programs that have been guaranteeing seeds, pigs, and zinc roofing for farmers. Ortega and the Sandinistas have also proven, ironically, to be great capitalists (while at the same time being best buddies with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez).

Nicaragua has been exemplary in its participation in the CAFTA free trade agreements and compliance with the neoliberal economic policies of the IMF and the Worldbank while at the same time receiving an unknown amount of financial support (this little detail is not recorded in the national budget) from Hugo Chavez.

Historically Ortega has not be able to capture more than about 40% of the vote (he won in 2007 with just 38%) but the other candidates will probably split the “anti-
sandinista” votes and allow Ortega to win the election.
Further details of the presidential race and the candidates are intriguing, comical, and in the end kind of sad, but we won’t go in to all that. If you want more details you can explore some of the resources listed below. Otherwise, just wait for our next post of the results in about a month after what we hope is a free, fair, and peaceful election.
Website from Nicaragua, detailing each candidate’s platform: Conexiones
Explore posts in the same categories: Adam, Marisa


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2 Comments on “Elections”

  1. […] Cuentos y Paz Stories from Adam and Marisa in Nicaragua « Elections […]

  2. Alan & Beth Says:

    Thanks for the good summary about the upcoming elections. It’s too bad that the international media haven’t written much about it in recent months. As always, Envío provides an interesting perspective on Nicaraguan political life.

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