President Daniel Ortega of the Sandinist National Liberation Front (FSLN) is headed toward a landslide victory in Sunday’s presidential election, based on polls of survey institutes, mainly the CID Gallup Latino-America and M&M.
The polls place Ortega in the lead with 52% of votes, followed by Fabio Gadea, leader of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), with 19% and former president Arnaldo Alemàn of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) with 3%. The other two candidates, Enrique Quinonez of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) and Roger Guevara of the Alliance for the Republic (APRE), are apparently under 1%.
The electoral system foresees two rounds, but the President is directly elected with 35% of votes and an advantage of at least 5 percentage points in respect to runner up. The low percentage for victory was established under a 1999 accord by the Sandinist Front and president at the time Arnoldo Aleman. The accord brought Ortega to office in the 2006 election.
Some 3.3-million Nicaraguans are registered to elect a President and Vice-President, 90 legislators of the national assembly and 20 of the Central American Parliament. According to Roberto Courtney, director of the Etica y Trasparencia Non-Governmental Organisation, “with this data the Sandinist Front could do without electoral broils”. He reminded of the scandal of the 2008 local elections, when, according to the NGO, the government party falsified the results in at least 32 administrations.
“With Ortega’s absolute control of the Supreme Court and Supreme Electoral Court (CSE), we cannot expect justice”, added Courtney. In regard to international monitoring, the European Union (EU) sent some 80 observers from 28 different countries. The observers are headed by the Spanish legislator of the European Parliament Luiz Yanez. The Organisation of American States (OAS) sent around 80 observers. Yanez stressed that the Supreme Electoral Council did not accredit local observers. “It is sad that experienced organisations such as Etica y Trasparencia, Ipade and Hagamos Democracia were not accredited as observers”, commented the head of the EU delegation.
Over the past days EU representatives received complaints mainly from the north, ranging from intimidation to lack of identity cards, needed to vote.