San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Popular Politician Montealegre Resigns

GRANADA, Nicaragua – Toppingall politicians in his party in recentpopularity polls, Eduardo Montealegre,of the Liberal Constitutional Party,last week resigned his post as Secretaryof the Presidency and said he willdedicate his time to reforming hisparty before the 2006 presidential elections.Montealegre resigned one week afteran M&R Consultants poll published inthe daily La Prensa suggested he leadsall other Liberals as the favorite potentialcandidate for the upcoming presidentialelections, with a 36.7% approvalrating.Montealegre, however, is not in thegood graces of incarcerated former Presidentand Liberal Party boss ArnoldoAlemán, who reportedly views the popularpolitician as a threat to his controlover the party.Montealegre, 49, said he was resigningfrom his post to work on “renovating”and “reunifying” the Liberal Party, andhelp construct a “Liberalismo without lastnames.”He had originally announced his resignationmonths ago, but did not give adefinite date until his last day in officeOct. 4.President Enrique Bolaños hailedMontealegre as a dedicated politician anddecorated him with the Ruben DarioOrder.The M&R poll showed that, if thepresidential elections were held today,Montealegre could defeat perennialSandinista candidate Daniel Ortega by 28points. The poll suggested Montealegrecould defeat any other possible candidate,except for Herty Lewites, the popularSandinista mayor of Managua.Some political observers, includingformer President Violeta Barrios deChamorro (1990-1995), have publiclyendorsed a hypothetical campaign carryingMontealegre and Lewites together onthe same ticket, for the upstart Alliancefor the Republic (APRE).Montealegre, whose presidential aspirationsappear to be clear, has not ruledout that possibility.

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