HAVANA TIMES – Antonio Gutierres, UN Secretary General, publicly expressed concern over the situation in Nicaragua and warned that the latest measures the government has taken against the opposition call into question the November’s election.
Gutierres’ remarks were transmitted by Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary General, during his office’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, August 10. “These developments seriously undermine the public’s confidence in the democratic process ahead of the November elections,” he stated.
According to Dujarric, the UN head: “calls on the authorities to fully respect Nicaragua’s international human rights obligations, to immediately release the political leaders and reinstitute their political rights.” [The regime is currently holding 140+ political prisoners.]
“He also reiterates his call for a broad-based agreement across the political spectrum, towards holding a credible and inclusive electoral process in November,” Dujarric concluded.
The UN official’s reaction came in response to the latest decisions of the Nicaraguan authorities, notably the Supreme Electoral Council’s abrupt cancellation of the legal party status of opposition alliance Citizens for Liberty.
During the current electoral process, Nicaraguan authorities have arrested over thirty opposition leaders, among them seven aspiring presidential candidates.
The Electoral Council has also cancelled the legal status of three political parties. The Nicaraguan Congress, where the ruling party holds an overwhelming majority of the seats, earlier passed changes to the Electoral Law, tightening Sandinista control over the Supreme Electoral Council and the electoral structures at all levels.
President Daniel Ortega, a former guerrilla leader, is now nearly 76 years old. After ruling from 1985 to 1990 he has now been in power since 2007 and is now seeking his fifth five-year term following three consecutive mandates. This is his second time running together with his wife, Rosario Murillo, who is the current vice president.