Nicaraguan general election, 1984
A general election was held in Nicaragua on November 4, 1984, to elect a president and parliament. Approximately 1.2 million Nicaraguans voted, representing a 75% turnout, with 94% of eligible voters registered. Impartial observers from international groupings such as the European Economic Community, religious groups sent to monitor the election, and observers from democratic nations such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland concluded that the elections were completely free and fair, although some have argued that only the general election of 1990 marked Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.
According to Martin Kriele, the 1984 election was for posts subordinate to the Sandinista Directorate, a body “no more subject to approval by vote than the Central Committee of the Communist Party is in countries of the East Bloc,” according to a detailed study. Some also thought the election was less than fair, with Kriele stating that by evading the secret ballot, “the authorities had the opportunity to check on how individuals had voted.” Also, “the finally announced results of the election were determined through administrative manipulation – that is, they were rigged.”
The election date, November 4 was selected so that Nicaragua would have a legitimate, elected government in place before the anticipated reelection of Ronald Reagan in the United States on November 6. "The Sandinistas hoped that a competitive election with heavy turnout would deter a U.S. military intervention and reassure the FSLN’s defenders. So the Sandinistas’ decision to hold elections in 1984 was largely of foreign inspiration”.
Between 1982 and 1984 the FSLN negotiated with the opposition on the proposed Political Parties Law and Electoral Law, and ultimately these were modified "in response to several of the opposition's most significant demands." Similarly, multiple extensions of the deadline for candidate registration were granted whilst talks with the Coordinadora continued.
Coordinadora Democrática participation
It has been argued that "probably a key factor in preventing the 1984 elections from establishing liberal democratic rule was the United States' policy toward Nicaragua." The Reagan administration was divided over whether or not the rightwing coalition Coordinadora Democrática Nicaragüense should participate in the elections, which "only complicated the efforts of the Coordinadora to develop a coherent electoral strategy." Ultimately the US administration public and private support for non-participation allowed those members of the Coordinadora who favoured a boycott to gain the upper hand.
A coalition of right-wing parties including the Social Christians, Social Democrats, and the Constitutional Liberal Party, calling itself the ‘Democratic Coordinating Committee’ (Coordinadora), decided to abstain from the elections on the grounds that the opposition parties had been given insufficient ‘guarantees,’ and not enough time to prepare for the elections. The Coordinadora’s abstentionism was publicly supported by the US government, which hoped to challenge the legitimacy of the November elections by alleging that opposition sectors were not able to participate. But despite US intervention and the Coordinadora abstention seven political parties took part in the November elections. The three right-wing parties which put forward candidates were the PCDN, PLI, and PPSC. The three opposing left-wing parties were the PSN, PC de N and MAPML.” 
The Reagan administration denounced the 1984 vote as a ‘Soviet-style sham’ despite some contrary opinions from external observers and the international press, escalated its diplomatic and propaganda campaign against the Sandinista government, and increased military aid to the Contras. “This undercut the new regime’s legitimacy abroad and frustrated its hopes that the 1984 vote might smooth the way at home.”  May 1985 saw a trade embargo imposed, followed by $27m of "non-lethal" aid to the Contras, supplemented by $37m of secret "lethal" aid. This led to the October 1985 reimposition of a State of Emergency in Nicaragua.
The New York Times surveyed ordinary Nicaraguans on the 1984 and 1990 elections:
"The longer they [Sandinistas] were in power, the worse things became. It was all lies, what they promised us" (unemployed person); "I thought it was going to be just like 1984, when the vote was not secret and there was not all these observers around" (market vendor); "Don’t you believe those lies [about fraud], I voted my conscience and my principles, and so did everyone else I know" (young mother); "the Sandinistas have mocked and abused the people, and now we have given our vote to [the opposition] UNO" (ex-Sandinista officer).
|José Daniel Ortega Saaveda||Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)||735,967||66.97%|
|Clemente Guido Chavez||Democratic Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCDN)||154,327||14.04%|
|Virgilio Godoy Reyes||Independent Liberal Party (PLI)||105,560||09.60%|
|Mauricio Díaz Dávila||Popular Social Christian Party (PPSC)||61,199||05.56%|
|Allan Zambrana Salmerón||Communist Party of Nicaragua (PC de N)||16,034||01.45%|
|Domingo Sánchez Salgado||Nicaraguan Socialist Party (PSN)||14,494||01.31%|
|Isidro Téllez Toruño||Marxist-Leninist Popular Action Movement (MAP ML)||11,352||01.03%|
|Total valid votes||1,098,933||100%|
|Spoilt and invalid votes||71,209||06.09%|
|Parties and alliances||Votes||%||Seats|
|Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)||729,159||66.78%||61|
|Democratic Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCDN)||152,883||14.00%||14|
|Independent Liberal Party (PLI)||105,497||09.66%||09|
|Popular Social Christian Party (PPSC)||61,525||05.63%||06|
|Communist Party of Nicaragua (PC de N)||16,165||01.48%||02|
|Nicaraguan Socialist Party (PSN)||15,306||01.40%||02|
|Marxist-Leninist Popular Action Movement (MAP ML)||11,343||01.03%||02|
|Total valid votes||1,091,878||100%||96|
|Spoilt and invalid votes||78,224||06.69%||–|
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