FSLN without Competition in Sunday’s Municipal Elections

With a subordinate Supreme Electoral Council and the abuse of State funds, they already controlled 134 of the 153 City Halls.

By Wilfredo Miranda Aburto  (Confidencial)

Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega prepare for more victories on Sunday.  Foto: el19digital.com

HAVANA TIMES – On Sunday November 5, Nicaragua holds nationwide local elections but only in 19 of the 153 municipalities in the country is there a resemblance of electoral competition between the Sandinista Front and other authorized parties.

However the process has been plagued by irregularities; note various sectors of the country. In the other 134 municipalities, it is expected that the ruling FSLN party of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo will be perpetuated in office.

The 19 municipalities governed by opponents are based in the north, center and Caribbean of Nicaragua, where the official machinery does not control them. They are historically anti-Sandinista localities, and in which, at present, episodes of repudiation of the administration of Commander Daniel Ortega, their institutions and even their projects occur.

In the last municipal elections of 2012, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) announced the Independent Liberal Party (PLI) won in thirteen cities, the Yatama indigenous party in three, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) in two, and the Liberal Nicaraguan Alliance Party in one.

Subsequently the PLI had its legal representation taken away before the 2016 presidential elections and the members then formed the Citizens for Freedom party (CxL) which is being allowed to take part in these elections.

Meanwhile the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD) called on its territorial members and the population in general to make a “citizen observation” of the municipal elections this November 5, which, according to this opposition group, “will be a new and massive fraud.”

The FAD, which brings together civil society organizations and different outlawed political parties, argued that the regime of commander Daniel Ortega does not “only violate the right to decide (…) but that it uses blackmail, pressure and threats on various social groups to make them be part of the machinery of fraud.”

No real opposition. Illustration: Juan Garcia /confidencial.com.ni

Although this opposition bloc does not believe that these municipal elections are transparent and competitive, it urges its members to document “any incidence of abuse, violation of laws, stuffed ballot boxes” by the Sandinista Front.

Suyen Barahona, member of the FAD, said the group also encourages citizens to report on: the use of State assets, voting minors, double votes, the amount of participation, and the presence of OAS observers.

Although the OAS mission, led by Wilfredo Penco, has been used as a synonym for credibility in this electoral process by the Ortega government and the other participating parties (some allied to the  FSLN), the FAD insists that “they cannot even be given the benefit of the doubt.”

“The arrival of the OAS to the country was late and limited. It will only have sixty members [on voting day] and its limitations will not be filled with those who should: the national electoral observation bodies, “said former legislator José Pallais.

National election observation -as in the most recent elections- is prohibited. Ethics and Transparency (EYT), which historically had observed elections, cannot do it officially. However, this Wednesday the National Council of Universities (CNU) announced that five thousand students will do election-day observation. Telemaco Talavera, who chairs that pro-government body, promised that “They will do it with patriotism, responsibility and ethics.” Talavera is also the government spokesperson for the Interoceanic Canal.

The electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) will be present in 15 departments and the two Autonomous Regions of the country on Sunday, November 5, when municipal elections will be held that do not enjoy competitiveness or transparency.

Wilfredo Penco, head of the delegation, did not specify the municipalities in which they will be deployed, nor did he want to refer to the accusations made by different civil organizations and illegal political parties referring to the control of commander Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front over the electoral system.