elecciones municipales de 2022 Nicaragua

Regime intends to organize the 2022 municipal elections in three months

Five months before the municipal elections scheduled for November 6, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) continues to delay the official call and in the country’s municipalities not the slightest enthusiasm for voting is perceived. Such a situation indicates that After the electoral reform of last May, the Daniel Ortega regime is committed to holding elections “in just three months.”

“The gravity of theme of the elections municipal transcends to the delay of the call”, warns Olga Valle, director of the citizen observatory Urnas Abiertas. “Leither that I know follow observing it is the absence of conditions democratic” in Nicaragua. ANDSW it implies that “yet I know maintains an Estate police of fact, a suppression absolute of the freedoms fundamental and the detention arbitrary of 182 political prisoners,” he adds.

With the reform to the Electoral Law of last May, the National Assembly —with a Sandinista majority— established an express electoral process. In such a way that the political parties that participate in the election will only have five days to present their lists for the Departmental or Municipal Electoral Councils and the number of Vote Receiving Boards (JRV) will be less than the 13,459 that worked in the general voting. of 2021.

Valle warns that with the electoral reform, the campaign period was also reduced to just 20 days, which limits the opportunities for citizens to “organize, supervise and fully participate in this process.”

For the next municipal votes, a reissue of the “2021 electoral farce” is expected, since they will take place a year after the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) eliminated political competition and adjusted the Electoral Law to suit it. Sandinism also governs 137 of the country’s 153 municipalities, where mayors, deputy mayors and council members will be elected.

On the other hand, the opposition organized after the massive protests of 2018 is disjointed due to the resurgence of political persecution by the Ortega regime, which in the last electoral year imprisoned and sentenced — to sentences of between eight and thirteen years in prison. for the crime of “treason against the country”—seven candidates for the presidency and forty political and union leaders. In addition, he promoted another wave of Nicaraguans who went into exile to avoid being arrested.

A amended Electoral Law

In recent electoral processes, the Ortega regime has adjusted the Electoral Law to suit it. The last reformwhich was consulted only with Judge Brenda Rocha, president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), and representatives of the political parties that participated in the general votes of 2021— occurred on May 5, by which articles 16, 21, 22, 70, 74, 85, 105, 148 and 158 of said law.

The change to article 74 reduced the electoral campaign period from 42 to 20 days, in the case of municipal votes, and 30 days for presidential elections. The reform does not provide any justification for said reduction, but the Special Commission of a Constitutional Character —which was created to consult the initiative— indicated in its opinion that “the simplification of deadlines” is a measure “consistent with the preservation of the environment insofar as It implies less use of physical advertising that generates a large amount of waste.

The reform also increased the number of voters per Vote Receiving Board (JRV), going from 400 to 600 voters. Such a situation was justified by the deputies because supposedly “it will allow the State of Nicaragua and the political parties to reduce the costs of operation and organization during the electoral processes in general.”

For the general votes of 2021, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the opposition organized after the April 2018 Rebellion called for a profound electoral reform, which would guarantee free, fair and transparent elections. But the Ortega regime openly rejected all the proposals and applied a series of superficial changes to appear legal in a non-transparent process, in which he was finally re-elected without political competition.

Ortega’s electoral counter-reform prohibited, among other things, that candidates for public office receive any type of financing from abroad, even from Nicaraguans residing in other countries. If they do so, the candidates may be disqualified and the political party would lose its legal status. On the other hand, parties collaborating with the ruling regime are entitled to state financing for the campaign even if they do not achieve even 4% of valid votes at the polls.

Voting in a context of repression

In the prelude to the call for municipal votes, Nicaragua is immersed in a protracted sociopolitical crisis for four years. After the Executive refused in 2018 to advance the elections as a way out of the crisis caused by the Ortega repression and massacre against the April Rebellion. Massive protests against the government were violently put down, leaving 325 murdered between April and September of that year, dozens of disappeared, thousands injured, more than a thousand political prisoners, of which 180 remain in prison, and more than 100,000 exiles who flee political persecution.

The Ortega regime —which controls all the powers of the State— is also accused of committing crimes against humanity and systematic violations of human rights, according to extensive reports by national and international defenders, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). ), through the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which the regime expelled in December 2018, prior to the presentation of the report in which they confirmed that the State committed crimes against humanity.

The victims of the repression and their families have not obtained justice and are demanding profound changes in the country’s political system. But in the run-up to the electoral process, the regime is trying to normalize a de facto police state, which annuls democratic freedoms and constitutional rights.

In September 2018, the Government declared citizen protests illegal and later, in the 2021 electoral counter-reform, the National Assembly transferred the power to authorize or not authorize political rallies to the National Police. Since then, any attempt to protest has been denied, suffocated or repressed, while dozens of Nicaraguans are besieged in their homes or persecuted by police or regime sympathizers.

The “election farce” of 2021

In the context of the 2021 electoral process, the Ortega regime imprisoned seven opposition presidential hopefuls, who were emerging as his main rivals at the polls. In addition, two more applicants —Luis Fley and María Asunción Moreno— had to go into exile so as not to be arrested.

The candidates Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Miguel Mora and Medardo Mairena, remain in the cells of the Evaristo Vásquez prison complex, known as “the new Chipote” and Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, Noel Vidaurre and Arturo Cruz Sequeira They are under house arrest.

The Supreme Electoral Council, controlled by the ruling Sandinista Front, also canceled the status of the political parties. Democratic Restoration (PRD) and Citizens for Freedom (CxL), both were considered the electoral vehicles of the opposition. In addition, the regime annulled the legal status of the Conservative Party (PC).

The observers of the OASneither from the European Union, nor from the American Carter Center, because the regime considers them non grata, and in the electoral counter-reform, the government party replaced electoral observation with the figure of “companions”, whose functions are not completely clear.

The little participation in the general voting of 2021 it was such that the only crowds occurred when the voting centers had not yet opened their doors, before 7:00 a.m. There were no lines because the population did not go out to vote. The independent and multidisciplinary observatory Urnas Abiertas placed the percentage of abstention at 81.5% of the population eligible to vote.

Governments of different Latin American countries, the European Union and the OAS denounced that the voting in Nicaragua did not comply with “minimum guarantees” of transparency, although the CSE assigned the family binomial of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo 75.92% of votes, in an election in which 65.34% of those registered supposedly voted.



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