Former presidential candidate Eduardo Montealegre announced Dec. 14 that he is “up to the challenge” of running for mayor of Managua next year on a unified ticket for the opposition “democratic forces,” if the third party Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) agrees to the coalition.
Montealgre, who has long been entertaining the idea of running for mayor, surprised many by announcing that his running mate would be lawmaker and former Contra Enrique Quiñónez, a hard-line loyalist of former President Arnoldo Alemán, who has been harshly critical of Montealgre since he separated from the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) in 2005.
Montealegre, who started the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) and finished second to President Daniel Ortega in the 2006 elections, was proclaimed the candidate of the joint Liberal ticket Dec. 14 by the regional party leaders of Managua’s District VI. The announcement was made in the presence of former PLC presidential candidate José Rizo and other leaders of the PLC, ALN and former Contra who all signed a declaration against the government of Ortega, whom they call “dictatorial.”
“We need to win the heads of all the departments; we need to win at least 100 municipal governments across Nicaragua.
That is the responsibility of everyone,” Montealegre said, while calling on the MRS to support him as the “only candidate under one banner.”
The coalition is also reportedly considering ways to win back other key municipalities such as Granada, possibly by running former PLC vice-presidential candidate José Antonio Alvarado.
If Montealegre were to win the mayor’s seat of Managua, he would have to renounce his post after two years if he plans to run for president in 2011. That would mean that a victorious Montealegre-Quiñónez ticket would result in the two men splitting the four-year term as mayor of Managua, with Montealegre serving the first two years and Quiñónez the last two.