San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Mejía, Liberals Will Assume Mayoral Seats in 37 Munis

Though Granada’s Mayor-elect Eulogio Mejía said last November that he would be willing to redo the municipal elections due to the widespread allegations of vote fraud during the first time around on Nov. 9, he said this week that he plans to take his oath of office on Jan. 15.

While Mejía’s victory in Granada was both decisive and uncontested, he had originally said that he would be willing to submit himself to a re-vote in the event the first elections were annulled, such as the opposition has proposed.

Now, however, Mejía said his party’s orders have changed.

“We formed a political alliance (with the Liberal Constitutional Party and Vamos Con Eduardo Alliance). The instructions that we have are the instructions we will follow. And the instructions we have right now is to assume office,” Mejía told The Nica Times this week. “If the instructions are that we are going to redo the elections, we will return to the campaign. But the instructions right now are to take office.”

Asked if he thought those instructions will serve to legitimize the elections that many considered a widespread fraud orchestrated by the ruling Sandinista Front, Mejía answered “We are following the instructions of the political alliance.”

Leonel Teller, spokesman for the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), told The Nica Times this week that the strategy of the Liberal alliance is two-fold. Teller said the Liberal alliance candidates will assume their mayoral and town councilman posts in the 37 municipalities in which they won, and are willing to recognize defeat in 24 municipalities. But the opposition Liberal alliance will boycott the other 44 municipalities in which it claims the Sandinistas stole the elections.

However, the Liberals have decided that a general boycott of all the election results would be a mistake and only play into the Sandinistas’ efforts to consolidate power. Teller said that the Liberals learned from the mistake made by the Venezuelan opposition in 2005, when it boycotted the elections held by President Hugo Chávez and ended up losing political power. The Venezuelan opposition was only able to regain some of its lost power by participating in the recent mayoral elections held there last November, and winning important seats such as Caracas.

“We cannot cede any political space to the Sandinistas,” Teller said.

The PLC spokesman said that he doesn’t think it is contradictory for the opposition to assume the seats they won why protesting the legitimacy of the elections, because he said it’s a stopgap measure until the opposition lawmakers can pass a proposed law to annul the entire electoral process and demand a nationwide re-vote.

According to the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), the Sandinistas won 105 municipalities and the Liberal Alliance won 37. The remaining seven municipalities in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) will hold their mayoral elections Jan. 18.

–Tim Rogers


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