Nicaraguan elections draw negative reviews from some

Although the Nicaraguan government has announced that Daniel Ortega will serve another term as president, international and unaccredited domestic observers have publicly stated that the electoral process was marred by significant irregularities. The major opposition candidates have rejected the results.

Typical is the reaction from Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department:

“The Nicaraguan elections were not transparent. As reported Oct. 31, we remain very concerned about irregularities throughout the Nicaraguan electoral process. We specifically noted the Nicaraguan government’s failure to accredit certain credible domestic organizations as observers, difficulties voters faced in obtaining proper identification, and pronouncements by Nicaraguan authorities that electoral candidates might be disqualified after the elections. On election day, some observers were denied access to voting centers.”

The Costa Rican foreign minstery, the Minsterio de Realaciones Exteriores y Culto issued a congratulatory message after Guatemalans elected Otto Pérez Molina as president Sunday. That was the same day as the Nicaraguan elections, but there has been no message on that race.

Ortega is not highly regarded in Costa Rican officialdom. His invasion of the Isla Calero a year ago pulled Costa Rica into an International Court of Justice case that still has not been resolved. Some Costa Ricans believe that Ortega behaved aggressively mainly to solidify his electoral support.

Said Toner:

“We agree with the European Union electoral mission that the Supreme Electoral Council did not operate in a transparent and impartial manner. We also share the concerns of the Organization of American States electoral mission regarding irregularities in the electoral process and on election day itself, and we join the OAS in calling upon Nicaraguan authorities to investigate acts of violence perpetrated on election day.

“All of these actions, and a lack of full accounting of ballots cast, reduce our confidence in the outcome of the elections. We also lament any loss of life as a result of the election and reiterate the EU’s call for all parties to resolve their disagreements through peaceful means.

“The United States remains committed to defending democratic processes and universal human rights, and we encourage the Nicaraguan government to do the same. This is fully consistent with our common commitment to representative democracy, as expressed in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We will continue to support civil society and promote human rights in Nicaragua both now and in the years to come.”

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