Poll: Nicaraguans Tired of Political Party Bosses

October 1, 2004

GRANADA – Most Nicaraguans thinkit’s time for former presidents ArnoldoAlemán and Daniel Ortega, the respectiveparty bosses of the Liberal ConstitutionalParty and the Sandinista NationalLiberation Front, to get out of politics andlet some new suits into positions of partyleadership, according to a poll released thisweek by M & R Consultants.More than 85% of Nicaraguans polledthink it is time for Alemán, who is servinga 20-year sentence related to corruptioncharges, to retire from politics, and 79.9%said it’s time for Ortega to give it up,according to the poll, published Monday inthe daily La Prensa.Ortega, who has lost his last three bidsfor President, has already announced he isrunning again in 2006 (TT, July 16).President Enrique Bolaños also receivedtepid marks from the 1,600 Nicaraguanspolled. His approval rating reached a newlow of 14.7% in the poll, with more than36% saying they disapproved of his presidency,and 41% saying they had no opinion.The poll claims a margin of error of 2.4%.FOR the race for mayor of Managua,the M & R poll concludes Sandinista candidateDionisio “Nicho” Marenco is leadingwith 31.3% of the intended vote withsix weeks to go before the election. Insecond place is Liberal candidate PedroJoaquín Chamorro, with 21%, followedby Alliance for the Republic (APRE)candidate Alejandro Fiallos, 16.9%, andLiberal Independent Party candidateEdén Pastora, 5.3%.Marenco’s lead in the polls has jumpedsubstantially in the past two months, followingthe emergence of candidate Fiallosand APRE, a coalition that has drawnstrong support from the Liberal’s traditionalvoter base. Popular incumbent Managuamayor Herty Lewites, who leads allSandinistas in the public opinion polls,also helps Marenco’s candidacy.Chamorro, the son of former PresidentVioleta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1995),was quick to dismiss the polls this week,and made clear his disapproval of Fiallos,calling him a “loser.”WITH last week’s official start to thecampaign season, the barrage of predictableand often-entertaining politicaladvertising has begun.One of the more entertaining televisionspots shows candidate Chamorrosprinting down the street holding a redLiberal flag, looking a bit like anOlympic runner taking his victory lap.His campaign supporters are runningalong behind him, apparently having adifficult time keeping up.But this year’s award for the campiestcampaign ad goes to Edén “ComandanteCero” Pastora for his 20-second TV spotadvertising a “different kind of mayor.”The ad starts off showing Pastora swaggeringon top of a globe to a rap song thattalks about a candidate “who is known bythe whole world.”The ad seamlessly shifts to Pastoraplaying pickup basketball with a group ofboys and smiling proudly after banking thegame-winning lay-up. In the next 10 seconds,Pastora is shown playing baseballwith a youngster, holding a baby, and kissingan elderly woman on the forehead.

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