Nicaraguan general election, 2011
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
- 1 Background
- 2 Candidates
- 3 Contending parties and electoral alliances
- 4 Polls
- 5 Controversy
- 6 Election
- 7 Reactions
- 8 References
The Sandinista National Liberation Front ((Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional - FSLN) returned to power with Daniel Ortega as president in 2007 after losing the 1990 general elections to the National Opposition Union (UNO) and its candidate Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. This will be the third election (1984, 1990, 2011) that the Sandinista National Liberation Front contested an election being in power.
Although the Constitution forbids re-election, last year the Constitutional Court ruled that President Daniel Ortega could run again.
He faced Fabio Gadea Mantilla, who was collecting support from opposition forces both to the right and to the center-left of the national political spectrum including the Independent Liberal Party and the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS).
Another candidate was former President Arnoldo Alemán, supported by the traditional Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Spanish: Partido Liberal Constitucionalista - PLC). Alemán was convicted in 2003 for corruption and money laundering.
Alliance for the Republic (APRE)
President: Miguel Angel García, then Róger Guevara Mena Miguel Angel García is a leader of the evangelical organization Asamblea de Dios and a former education minister in the government of Enrique Bolaños. In an interview, García stated that God guided his acceptance of this candidacy and is assuring him he will win with the backing of a million votes.
Vice-President: Elizabeth Rojas
Elizabeth Rojas is an evangelical pastor and the running mate of Miguel Angel García on the APRE ticket.
Constitutionalist Liberal Party
President: Arnoldo Alemán Arnoldo Alemán was President of Nicaragua from 1997 to 2002. In the early 1990s he became Mayor of Managua after serving for two months as a councillor in Managua. He was popular due to his urban renewal projects which helped spruce up the city, severely damaged and never rebuilt after a 1972 earthquake. Alemán was constitutionally barred from running for another term, and was succeeded by his vice president, Enrique Bolaños. Allegations emerged that Alemán was concealing massive corruption in his administration. At the end of his presidency, public information about alleged corruption committed under his government became available.
Independent Liberal Party
President: Fabio Gadea Mantilla Fabio Gadea Mantilla is a radio journalist, writer, and politician. He is owner and co-founder of the news radio station Radio Corporación. He also represents Nicaragua as deputy to the Central American Parliament and was President of that body in 2004–2005, as well as having been a member of its Commission of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology from 2007 onward.
Vice-President: Edmundo Jarquín Edmundo Jarquín was the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) vice-presidential candidate in the 2006 general elections. He finished in fourth place, receiving 6.29% of the votes. Jarquín founded in 1974, together with Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, editor of newspaper La Prensa, the Democratic Liberation Union (UDEL) in the struggle against the Anastasio Somoza Debayle regime. Jarquín was head of the Ministry of Foreign Cooperation between 1981-84 and ambassador to Mexico (1984-88) and to Spain (1988-1990). In the 1990 elections he gained a seat in the National Assembly. Jarquín worked as an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) official from 1992 to 2005 when he resigned and joined the MRS electoral alliance.
President: Enrique Quiñonez
Vice-President: Diana Urbina
Sandinista National Liberation Front
President: Daniel Ortega Daniel Ortega, coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction (1979-1985), ascended to the presidency after the 1984 elections. Ortega, general secretary of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), was President of Nicaragua from 1985 to 1990 and presidential candidate of the FSLN in 1990, 1996, 2001 and 2006. In the 2006 general elections, Ortega won with 37.99% of the votes. Daniel Ortega is pulling in first place in the polls.
Vice-President: Omar Halleslevens
Omar Halleslevens, a former Sandinista guerilla fighter, founder of the Sandinista Popular Army in 1979 and head of the armed forces between 2005 and 2010 is the vice-presidential candidate of the FSLN. In a poll conducted by M&R in 2009, Hallesleven was the second most popular public figure in the country, only behind Aminta Granera, the head of the National Police. In the same poll, 73.3% of the public regarded the National Army as the most trustworthy public institution in the country.
Contending parties and electoral alliances
Alliance for the Republic
The Alliance for the Republic (Spanish: Alianza por la República - APRE) is formed by dissidents of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party and the Conservative Party (PC). In the 2006 general elections, APRE contested the elections in alliance with the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance.
Constitutionalist Liberal Party
The Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Spanish: Partido Liberal Constitucionalista - PLC) is leading the GANA PLC-PC alliance together with the members of the Conservative Party.
Independent Liberal Party
The Independent Liberal Party is leading the UNE alliance (Nicaraguan Unity for the Hope - Spanish: Unidad Nicaragüense por la Esperanza). The UNE is composed by the Sandinista Renovation Movement, the liberal Vamos con Eduardo and Liberales por un proyecto de nación movements, the Citizens Union for Democracy (an alliance of 14 local non-profits), a faction of the Nicaraguan Resistance Party, the Conservative Unity Movement (formed by dissidents of the Conservative Party) and the Alcaldes 9 de Noviembre movement (former allies of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party).
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance
The Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (Spanish: Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense - ALN) is formed by dissidents of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party and the Conservative Party (PC).
Sandinista National Liberation Front
After the break-up of the FSLN-Convergence alliance in 2005, the FSLN formed the United Nicaragua Triumphs alliance. The allied political forces of the FSLN are; Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Aslatakanka (YATAMA), the indigenous party from Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast, Christian Democratic Union (UDC), Christian Unity Movement (MUC), Popular Conservative Alliance (APC) and a few smaller organisations of dissidents from the Constitutionalist Liberal Party and the Conservative Party and a fraction of members from the Nicaraguan Resistance Party, including members of the PLN, Anastasio Somoza Debayle's Liberal Party.
|Party||Candidate||January 2011||May 2011||September 2011||October 2011|
|PLI||Fabio Gadea Mantilla||17%||28%||32%||34%|
Consultora Siglo Nuevo
|Party||Candidate||August 2011||October 2011|
|PLI||Fabio Gadea Mantilla||15.8%||15.0%|
|PLI||Fabio Gadea Mantilla||14.1%|
The Supreme Court, which has a majority of Sandinista judges, overturned presidential term limits as set by the constitution. Critics said the move could set the stage for Ortega to have the presidency for life. Furthermore, with a commanding majority in the election he could also further constitutional changes to allow for his re-election indefinitely.
After the polls closed, the Organisation of American States' observer mission, led by former Argentine foreign minister Dante Caputo, said that its job was hindered in 10 of 52 polling stations and was "worrying. If we had trouble in 10 out of 52 polling stations, that means that in 20 per cent of the sample on which we normally base our assessment, we haven't been able to work as we normally do. That means that we can't say that things went appropriately in 100 per cent of the polling stations."
After 85.2% of the votes were counted, The Electoral Council said that Ortega had 62.69% of the vote and the Liberal Party's Fabio Gadea had 30.96%. They confirmed Ortega's victory on 8 November.
|Candidates – Parties||Votes||%|
|José Daniel Ortega Saavedra – Sandinista National Liberation Front||1,569,287||62.46|
|Fabio Gadea Mantilla – Independent Liberal Party||778,889||31.00|
|José Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo – Constitutionalist Liberal Party||148,507||5.91|
|Édgar Enrique Quiñónez Tuckler – Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance||10,003||0.40|
|Róger Antonio Guevara Mena – Alliance for the Republic||5,898||0.23|
|Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional)||1,583,199||60.85||63*|
|Independent Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Independiente)||822,023||31.59||27*|
|Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista)||167,639||6.44||2|
|Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense )||19,658||0.76||—|
|Alliance for the Republic (Alianza por la República)||9,317||0.36||—|
* The runner-up in the presidential election (Fabio Gadea Mantilla of the PLI) and the outgoing president are special members of the National Assembly; as Ortega was reelected, the outgoing Vice President (Jaime Morales Carazo of the FSLN), who was not Ortega's running mate in this election (having been replaced by Omar Halleslevens, will take up his seat. (AFP)
Reactions have been diverse and not unified on the result of the election, both in Nicaragua and internationally.
To illustrate the disparity of opinions and statements, below are a series of deviating positions on the election:
Positions Not Recognizing Results: Local Electoral Observers such as the "Hagamos Democracia" and "Etica and Transparencia" have rejected the electoral results. 
The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua considered the election not to be transparent. 
The European Union Electoral Observers stated that "the process was led by an electoral system that was not independent and that failed to fulfill its job of transparency and collaboration with all political parties."
The United States coincided with European Union Observers "that the Supreme Electoral Council did not operate in a transparent and impartial manner,”. 
Gadea said that the result was allegedly plagued with vices and "that we suspect that we are in the presence of fraud of unprecedented proportions;" he also added that members of his party should await instructions as "the struggle continues."
Positions Recognizing Results: The Organization of American States ratified, that the results of the Nicaraguan general elections of 2011, won by Daniel Ortega Saavedra with more than 62 percent of the vote, corresponded to the count realized by this and other organizations during their electoral observer mission in Nicaragua.
The head of accompanying mission of the European Union (EU), Luis Yáñez called the triumph of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front in the Nicaraguan General Elections indubitable and ruled out any possibility of fraud during them.
Rosario Murillo, Ortega's wife and spokeswoman, said of the win that: "This is the victory of Christianity, socialism and solidarity;" she also repeated Ortega's campaign slogan - "Our promise is to keep building the common good."
- Electoral Calendar-international elections world elections
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- Revista Envío - The Five Slots on November’s Ballot
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