Sunday, June 13

Nicaragua: The lack of agreement by the Nicaraguan opposition paves the way for Ortega’s third reelection | International

Members of the opposition Alianza Ciudadanos after registering alone with the Electoral Tribunal for the presidential elections scheduled for November in Nicaragua.
Members of the opposition Alianza Ciudadanos after registering alone with the Electoral Tribunal for the presidential elections scheduled for November in Nicaragua.Carlos Herrera placeholder image

The Nicaraguan opposition traveled a long road of more than two years in search of a “longed for unity” to face Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo in the general elections of next November, but in the end the journey was so bumpy that both Separate blocks crashed into a maze of disagreements, disqualifications, and mutual mistrust. The serious fracture was finally exposed on Wednesday afternoon, when the legal representative of the Citizens for Freedom Alliance, Kitty Monterrey, registered a solo electoral alliance, leaving out the National Coalition.

For months the word “unity” had been pronounced with greater vehemence by these two main opposition blocs, but more so by a citizenry who put their hopes in “total unity” to be able to leave the Ortega-Murillo regime, accused of committing crimes against them. humanity, and that it still maintains a de facto police state that violently crushes its critics. But the inability of the opponents to meet was not possible in the end. In fact, in recent weeks this issue made headlines in Nicaragua, after the Ortega-Murillo regime approved an electoral reform to suit it, appointed loyal magistrates to the Supreme Electoral Council and set the deadlines for the elections with the publication of a calendar. that imposed on the opponents as a deadline this May 12 to register their electoral alliances.

The National Coalition and Citizen Alliance began marathon days of negotiations to understand each other. But what came out of the lockdowns were more dimes and diretes and three key points that “blocked unity”: the legal guardianship of the Electoral Alliance due to mutual distrust, the lists of deputies and the mechanism to choose a presidential candidate to measure Ortega. There were no agreements and the decision of Alianza Ciudadana to register unilaterally sparked a series of criticisms, especially from organizations of relatives of political prisoners and the fatal victims of the April 2018 protests, when the government brutally repressed police and paramilitaries.

“The organizations of direct victims of the Ortega-Murillo regime, born from the grave violation of human rights, and who continue to suffer the most cruel repression, at this crucial moment demand the unity of all truly opposition forces in order to get out of this dictatorship. ”Lineth Méndez, mother of the prisoner released for participating in the protests, Roger Alexander Espinoza Méndez, told EL PAÍS.

The disunity of the opposition was felt as a betrayal by these groups. Dr. Carlos Tünnermann, a notable professor who formed a “goodwill commission” to help find Alianza Ciudadana and the National Coalition, said he was frustrated. For Tünnermann, a united opposition was more effective in stripping Ortega’s conditions to participate in elections with minimal transparency and competition.

“It was up to them to unite, because when the danger is greater, you have to join forces and not divide,” Tünnermann told EL PAÍS. “Ortega must be happy that the opposition could not unite, because for him winning an election with a divided opposition is easy. We already have the experience of 2006, when Ortega returned to power ”.

Apart from the electoral fraud committed by Ortega, and denounced by bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union in past elections, the disunity that has prevailed in opposition groups has generated abstention that favors the Sandinista machinery. In fact, this Wednesday the OAS Permanent Council dedicated a session to Nicaragua and criticized the electoral reform that benefits the Sandinista Front, the election of magistrates related to Sandinismo, and the laws to inhibit opponents and restrict freedom of expression. “Nicaragua is heading for the worst possible election,” warned Luis Almagro, secretary general of the organization.

Resurgence and opposition debacle

After the socio-political crisis that began in April 2018, the traditional political parties did not enjoy credibility among the population. In fact, in the protests they were repelled by the citizens. That spontaneous convulsion generated the first opposition group in 2018, the Civic Alliance, when the Episcopal Conference called for a national dialogue to try to stop the violence in the streets. The Civic Alliance was made up of students, peasants, businessmen, trade unions, feminists, and other civil society groups. She was the mother opposition nucleus born from the protests.

Later, the Civic Alliance gave birth to other expressions such as the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), which brought together more sectors opposed to the regime. But soon that diversity of profiles and interests began to be disregarded. In January 2020, the Civic Alliance announced a strange separation of roles from UNAB. It was the first great opposition crisis. To try to get back on track, they formed the National Coalition in consensus. It promised to unify into a single block. But again, like Saturn devouring his children, the Civic Alliance left the National Coalition ten months later.

At that time, the Civic Alliance lost the main figures of civil society that counterbalanced the pronounced business influence that prevails on that platform to this day. Until before the 2018 protests, big capital maintained a relationship of “dialogue and consensus” with the Ortega-Murillo regime, in a kind of authoritarian corporatism. In January 2021, the Civic Alliance concluded an agreement with the CxL party and thus the second opposition bloc was born, the same one that crashed on May 12 with the National Coalition: the Citizen Alliance.

Since then, both groups have been trying to recognize each other, to get closer, on a path full of stones, before the national demand for unity. But in the end, facing the electoral process, and the preparation for elections, they led to a fracture that seems to have no setback. The National Coalition denounced that Alianza Ciudadana did not want to “give in” in its positions, and wanted to impose an electoral alliance from the CxL box to control everything related to candidacies and more electoral tasks. CxL, through its president Kitty Monterrey, reproached the National Coalition for the same.

Monterrey and his party said that registering alone with the Electoral Power “was not the end of the unit, but the beginning”, but so far the counterpart has criticized harshly. The population’s fed up with these opposition comings and goings is evident. “Think about unity, about that, because if not the people will be in charge of judging you. We are people with hope who are in need of unity. I, who am the mother of a political prisoner, ask that you stop fighting and unite, “said Ethel Gómez. His request was also run over in the opposition labyrinth.

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