Nicaragua archbishop warns that Ortega reelection bid setting ‘dangerous precedent’

March 30, 2011

Archbishop of Managua Leopoldo Brenes warned that the possible reelection of Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega can set “a dangerous precedent in regards to the violation of our Constitution.”

Brenes, who also leads the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN), said in an interview published Monday in El Nuevo Diario, that the clamor for Ortega’s reelection “is a reflection of institutional weakness prevailing in the country.” He said that the National Assembly and the Supreme Court made a game of the law.

Asked if the judges settled the law to their convenience, the religious leader answered: “Of course!”

“I always thought that the laws had only one interpretation and that they was in the hands of those that had ample knowledge of them, but I was wrong,” Brenes said.

“It was deplorable to discover the Constitution was not respected” in the judges’ ruling.

The archbishop believes there are great thinkers within the ruling Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN), but they are not given a chance to have their voice heard.

“When we see that one person runs the country and has all the power, in this hands can fall the temptation of totalitarianism,” Brenes said.

He also dismissed those running against Ortega as “psuedo opposition that is loyal on to their interests and maintaining the positions they hold.”

Ortega is seeking another five years in office but a constitutional provision prohibits immediate reelection, but pro-FSLN judges on the Supreme Court declared the law unenforceable.

Nicaraguans will elect a new president November 6. Ortega will face four opposition candidates including former President Arnoldo Aleman (1997-2002) of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party. The other candidates are Fabio Gadea of the Independent Liberal Party, former “contra” leader Enrique Quiñónez of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance and former Minister of Education Miguel Ángel García of the Alliance for the Republic.

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