San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘Pacto’ Moves To Exclude Minority Parties

The Supreme Elections Council’s recent allegation that two minority political parties haven’t met all the requirements for the upcoming November municipal elections is proof that the power-sharing pact between the country’s two biggest parties continues to exert strong influence over supposedly independent state institutions, says Conservative Party leader Azalia Aviles.

“State institutions are being controlled by two parties,” she said, in reference to the pact that President Daniel Ortega formed with former president and convict Arnoldo Alemán, of the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), to divvy up state power in 1999.

The pact has given the two leaders a shared monopoly on the four branches of Nicaragua’s democratic system, and last week’s move by the Supreme Elections Council, or CSE, is nothing less than an attempt to “take contenders out of the political game,” Aviles said.

Aviles’ Conservative Party, as well as the leftist Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), a party that split from Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in1995, could both be disqualified from November’s elections following a recent ruling by the CSE, which came at the request of PLC lawmaker Wilfredo Navarro to “clarify” the legal standing of several minority parties.

Last week, the elections council began the process of disqualifying Conservative candidates from running in the elections because the party allegedly failed to register the minimum 80 percent of its candidates before elections. Aviles argues that is a false allegation and questions the timing of the decision to disqualify her party more than a month after the registration deadline.

In the case of the MRS, CSE magistrates said the party has failed to meet five requirements, though the party insists it has met all.

The CSE gave both parties until Wednesday night to meet the requirements.

Aviles said Nicaragua’s two dominant parties – the FSLN and the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) – are trying to push out potential political opponents, as the two parties did in the 2000 municipal elections.

Aviles says the PLC and FSLN are nervous that the minority parties will appeal to the growing number of disenchanted voters.

Aviles, who is also the Vice-President of the Union of Latin American Parties, said she’ll expose the attempt against democracy at a world summit of political party leaders next month in France.


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