Nicaragua. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Nicaragua include Independence Day (September 15) and New Year (January 1). Daniel Ortega’s victory in the November 5 presidential election meant that the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional), in his fourth attempt, succeeded in regaining power for the first time since the 1990 election defeat. and ruled the country during the ten years when the US-backed Contras guerrillas waged war against the government.
Many hopes have been linked to Ortega and the Sandinists, although many observers believe that Ortega is a different political person today than in the 1980s. Among other things, he has collaborated with the Conservative Party PLC (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista) in recent years – in Nicaragua known as El pacto (“the Pact”) – and has significantly toned down his left rhetoric. The day before the election he wrote, for example. under an agreement with Nicaragua Chamber of Commerce to respect and promote free enterprise, private ownership and foreign investment if elected. In addition, the opponents on the right were split between Eduardo Montealegre for ALN (Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense) and José Rizo for PLC. The dissident from the Sandinist Party Edmundo Jarquín made a weak choice. But turnout was high, 75-80%.
Ortega also dampened fears of political turmoil following his victory by speaking of reconciliation and cooperation in a surprisingly religiously colored language, not least in relation to the United States. However, during the election campaign there were allegations of foreign involvement in the elections, from the US on the right and from Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez on the left.
In June 2016, the Supreme Court removed the leader of the country’s largest opposition party, Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI), Eduardo Montealegre. The opposition had thus removed its strongest candidate up to the November presidential election. In August, President Daniel Ortega announced that he is running for a third term, and this time with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as Vice Presidential candidate. Ortega received 72.4% of the vote. He was thus able to start his 3rd presidential term since 2007.
At the same time as the presidential election, parliamentary elections were held. The FSLN went 7 seats up to 70 and thus had a majority in the 92-member parliament. For PLI, the election was a disaster; it lost 25 seats and had to settle for 2. In contrast, the PLC went up 11 seats to 13. In the election to the Central American Parliament, the FSNL got 15 out of 20 seats. The candidate lists for both parliaments should contain equal numbers of men and women. Part of the explanation for the FSLN’s victories was the relatively high economic growth in the country and the absence of the violence that crippled the northern Central American countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
A number of different environmental organizations and indigenous peoples organizations complained in 2016 about building the inter-oceanic channel through the country.