Politics of Nicaragua
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
|Life in Nicaragua|
Nicaragua is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government, and there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
In 1995, the executive and legislative branches negotiated a reform of the 1987 Sandinista constitution which gave extensive new powers and independence to the National Assembly, including permitting the Assembly to override a presidential veto with a simple majority vote and eliminating the president's ability to pocket veto a bill. Both the president and the members of the unicameral National Assembly are elected to concurrent five-year terms.
|President||Daniel Ortega||FSLN||10 January 2012|
|Vice President||Moisés Omar Halleslevens Acevedo||10 January 2012|
The president and the vice-president are elected for a single non-renewable five-year term. The president appoints the Council of Ministers.
The National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional) consists of 90 deputies elected from party lists drawn at the department and national level, plus the outgoing president and the runner-up in the presidential race, for a total of 92. In the 2001 elections, the PLC and its allies won 52 seats, the FSLN won 37 seats, and the Conservative Party 1 seat. In addition, ex-president Arnoldo Alemán assumed a seat, as did runner-up Daniel Ortega. During the 2002 legislative term, Alemán would have served as President of the National Assembly; however, he and other members of his family were charged with corruption in December 2002, and on 7 December 2003 he was sentenced to a 20-year prison term for a string of crimes including money laundering, embezzlement and corruption.
Political parties and elections
|Candidates - Parties||Votes||%|
|José Daniel Ortega Saavedra - Sandinista National Liberation Front||854,316||38.07|
|Eduardo Montealegre - Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance||650,879||29.00|
|José Rizo Castellón - Constitutionalist Liberal Party||588,304||26.51|
|Edmundo Jarquín Calderón - Sandinista Renovation Movement||144,596||6.44|
|Edén Atanacio Pastora Gómez - Alternative for Change||6,120||0.27|
|The source is Consejo Supremo Electoral|
|Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional)||840,851||37,59||38|
|Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense )||597,709||26,72||23|
|Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista)||592,118||26.47||25|
|Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista)||194,416||8.69||5|
|Alternative for Change (Alternativa por el Cambio)||12,053||0.54||-|
|Total (turnout %)||100.0||92|
|Source: Elecciones 2006 , 91.6 % counted (?). The seats are from IFES|
The Supreme Court supervises the functioning of the still largely ineffective and overburdened judicial system. As part of the 1995 constitutional reforms, the independence of the Supreme Court was strengthened by increasing the number of magistrates from 9 to 12. In 2000, the number of Supreme Court Justices was increased to 16. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the political parties and elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly.
Led by a council of seven magistrates, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) is the co-equal branch of government responsible for organizing and conducting elections, plebiscites, and referendums. The magistrates and their alternates are elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly. Constitutional changes in 2000 expanded the number of CSE magistrates from five to seven and gave the PLC and the FSLN a freer hand to name party activists to the council, prompting allegations that both parties were politicizing electoral institutions and processes and excluding smaller political parties.
Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the Nicaraguan constitution and vigorously exercised by its people. Diverse viewpoints are freely and openly discussed in the media and in academia. There is no state censorship in Nicaragua. Other constitutional freedoms include peaceful assembly and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement within the country, as well as foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation. The government also permits domestic and international human rights monitors to operate freely in Nicaragua. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on birth, nationality, political belief, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, national origin, economic or social condition. However, homosexuality is un-criminalized. All public and private sector workers, except the military and the police, are entitled to form and join unions of their own choosing, and they exercise this right extensively. Nearly half of Nicaragua's work force, including agricultural workers, is unionized. Workers have the right to strike. Collective bargaining is becoming more common in the private sector.
Nicaragua is divided in 15 departments : Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Estelí, Granada, Jinotega, León, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rivas, Río San Juan, as well as in 2 autonomous regions : Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte and Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur.
Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega said March 6, 2008 that the nation is breaking relations with Colombia "in solidarity with the Ecuadoran people", following the 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis. The relations were restored soon after.
Political pressure groups
Some political pressure groups are:
- National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions, including
- Farm Workers Association or ATC
- Health Workers Federation or FETSALUD
- Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO
- National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN
- National Union of Employees or UNE
- National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG
- Sandinista Workers' Centre or CST
- Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN
- Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions, including
- Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union
- Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups