When voting closed at 6 pm local time Sunday, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was expecting confirmation of his reelection following a low turnout for the elections in which every likely opponent was either jailed or in exile, it was reported from Managua.
Ortega will thus win his fourth consecutive term after 14 years in power, without real competition, with seven opposition candidates arrested. Ortega, who will turn 76 Thursday, was joined once again by his wife Rosario Murillo (70) for the vice-presidency on behalf of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). The former Sandinista guerrilla also ruled in the 1980s after overthrowing Anastasio Somoza in 1979.
In Managua, Ortega, who came to power in 2007, equated his opponents with terrorism and said they were demons who wanted neither peace nor tranquillity in Nicaragua and opted for violence. The Sandinista regime has cracked down on protests, which Ortega considered a failed coup attempt. Ortega said his incarcerated rivals were conspirators. They were conspiring, they did not want these elections to take place, therefore these elections are, thank God, a sign, a commitment by the vast majority of Nicaraguans to vote for peace, argued Ortega.
Meanwhile, US President Joseph Biden has called the elections a pantomime.”
The election that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, orchestrated today was a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and certainly not democratic, Biden said through a statement.
The way for Ortega's reelection was paved when seven likely opposition candidates who posed a challenging electoral threat to the leader were either arrested or went into exile on security grounds.
After casting his vote alongside Murillo. Ortega spoke on a radio and TV network criticizing the opponents both imprisoned and in exile and also those behind the April 2018 protests against him. We are holding these elections, and we are sure that in this battle, which is a historic battle, where we must decide on terrorism, confrontation, war or peace,” said Ortega.
The president offered his statements in the middle of the election day, which has passed calmly and with a low number of voters, in contrast to the forecasts of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which predicted a massive vote.
Opposition groups urged Nicaraguans not to vote, so that Ortega's victory would not be legitimized. Under the hashtags #YoNoBotoMiVoto, #YoNoVoto or #NicaraguaNoVota, because there is no one for whom to vote. Nicaraguan exiles in Costa Rica protested on the main streets of San José against fraud and the electoral circus orchestrated by Ortega. Nicaraguan opposition groups gathered in Madrid, Miami, Panama and Washington to repudiate the elections and ask the world not to recognize the electoral results in Nicaragua, considering that the process was just a farce to re-elect Ortega. With banners and slogans such as We don't have anyone to vote for, everyone is in prison, SOS Nicaragua, Long live Nicaragua free, Ortega listen, we are still in the fight, I am not going to vote on November 7 protesters filled the streets of other cities abroad.
Human Rights Watch's (HRW) José Miguel Vivanco wrote on Twitter that Ortega will assume his fourth consecutive term due to repression, censorship and fear.
Today the whole world will witness the coronation of the dictatorship in Nicaragua. The electoral farce is underway: elections with no candidates other than those of the regime; elections with all the opposition in jail and with the soldiers on the street, wrote on Twitter former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, who stressed the Nicaraguan electoral process makes fun of the methods and instruments of democracy, manipulating them, and with this, the regime slyly challenges the international community, feeling protected by nations that share its contempt for the freedom and human rights.
The United States, Canada and the EU have warned of sanctions after the Nicaraguan elections, amid questions of their legitimacy. Biden also warned that the United States will use all the diplomatic and economic tools available to support the Nicaraguan people and hold the Sandinista regime accountable. Biden also said Ortega and Murillo were ruling Nicaragua as autocrats and were “no different from the Somoza family that Ortega and the Sandinistas fought four decades ago.”