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Ortega validates Nicaragua election results amid clamor for do-over

GRANADA, Nicaragua – President Daniel Ortega said he will block the opposition´s proposal for a revote of the Nov. 9 elections, as Sandinista supporters celebrated a victory by the ruling party in the large majority of municipalities.

“They´re trying to twist the law, twist the Constitution,” Ortega said at a victory rally Friday night after the Sandinistas won 105 of 146 mayoral seats that were up for grabs in the elections, which opponents say were rigged to favor the Sandinistas.

The Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) took 37 mayoral seats while the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) won four, according to official results released by the Supreme Elections Council (CSE) Thursday night.

The two weeks since the Nov. 9 election have been marked by political violence between Liberal and Sandinista factions.

Before the results were released, the opposition had already prepared a proposal to annul the election results, which would call for another vote, perhaps in January.

“The government has an agenda to weaken representative democracy. The National Assembly is obligated to act, to stress the supremacy of the Constitution that says Nicaragua is a democratic republic,” said Liberal legislator José Pallaís.

But Sandinistas insist their victory has been “convincing.”

“We already did a recount,” said Juigalpa Mayor-elect María Elena Guerra, standing behind the stage that was erected in front of the CSE building Thursday night as part of Sandinista celebrations that clogged several city blocks with a singing, drinking, flag-waving multitude of red and black. Demonstrators burned a toy rat symbolizing the official defeat of Liberal mayoral candidate for Managua Eduardo Montealegre, whose nickname is “ superatón, ” or Mighty Mouse.

Montealegre and the Organization of American States have called for a recount with international observers.

The Episcopal Conference in Nicaragua requested that “all legal and constitutional mechanisms be exhausted” to find a solution to Nicaragua´s electoral quandary.

Guerra, Juigalpa´s first female mayor-elect, said the country is polarized and must find common ground.

“We´re going to work with all sectors regardless of politics and religious creed,” she told The Nica Times.

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