MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan businessman Rosario Murillo again accused the opposition of fraud, after independent observers publicly criticized the Dec. 17 presidential election as “the latest example of [Nicaragua’s] sad historical record of abusing its electoral institutions” that he said “has led to its own decline.”
Murillo, the wife of President Daniel Ortega, who is seeking a third consecutive term, denied allegations of ballot tampering, alleging that hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to vote for a leftist party that advocates the repurposing of troops from Latin America to support Nicaragua.
The Organization of American States and others objected to restrictions on voters and said that many voters were turned away. Independent monitors said the election violated the electoral code and was marred by bias.
In a tweet Thursday, Murillo said a “new breach” was discovered Wednesday, according to the foreign press, that included young women who were placed in a polling place by the National Electoral Council in one of those constituencies on Nov. 2.
“Ortega was re-elected,” said Francisco Acuña, one of Nicaragua’s most popular journalists, adding that the right had a history of voting in places with “very low turnout.”
The two Democratic Socialists, who have been in power since Managua was carved out of the towering Caribbean mountain range in the early 20th century, were tasked with reforming the country after a bloody and bloody conflict that ended in 1979 with the fall of dictator Anastasio Somoza. They ended up dominating the country for four decades, for the most part untouched by electoral fraud, including the 2008 presidential race, which almost came close to being called in favor of Ortega’s rival, Edén Pastora.
Gustavo Alemán, one of the leaders of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, faced some of the toughest opposition in his fight to stay in power, particularly in 2007, when he was badly beaten by Enrique Bolaños, who was on his way to winning the runoff. Though Bolaños was both a billionaire and a candidate with good name recognition, he came a close second to Alemán, who was widely seen as beholden to the leadership of Ortega, his sister, Lucia Flores, and her husband, Daniel Ortega.
In the end, Alemán was able to survive an endless campaign financed by his allies and supporters, but it still was painful. His defeat was an embarrassment for Ortega, who ruffled feathers earlier in the campaign when he said that the Sandinistas had beaten Bolaños by a wide margin. Bolaños made it clear that he had done everything possible to take a podium at the finale of the campaign in Managua, but the Sandinistas felt they were not threatened enough to allow that.
Murillo, the president’s spouse, said on Thursday she was ready to resume her role as first lady, tweeting: “Our government to face any situation.”
Daniel Ortega said the elections represented progress. “Nicaragua now has a ceremonial president,” he said.
Two days after Ortega’s victory, he was given a key role as vice president.