San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega proposes electoral reform in Nicaragua

MANAGUA – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Wednesday sent Congress the draft of a bill to reform the country’s electoral system, following complaints of irregularities by the European Union (EU) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The bill comes on the heels of the disputed 2011 election, in which Ortega was re-elected amid allegations of vote-rigging and intimidation.

The initiative aims to “ensure that election results are more accurate,” said presidential legal adviser Claudia Curtis, after presenting the bill to legislative First Secretary Alba Palacios.

The proposed Electoral Act bill, which Congress will debate next week ahead of the November municipal elections, includes recommendations by the OAS and EU after last November’s presidential elections.

Ortega’s government has not yet considered the possibility of renewing the directory of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), formed only by judges loyal to the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front.

The OAS stated in a report last January that Nicaragua’s electoral system has shown “structural failures … since 1996,” while the EU recommended a replacement of current CSE judges.

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