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Nicaragua’s Problematic Municipal Elections

The Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), also known as the Sandinistas, won the bulk of Nicaragua’s mayoral offices in its municipal elections on November 5, 2017. The FSLN, former guerrillas who prevailed in the 1979 Revolution and ruled Nicaragua until 1990 under President Daniel Ortega, has been Nicaragua’s dominant political force since Ortega returned to office in 2007. The opposition complained of official efforts to manipulate the electoral process and suppress participation by opposition voters. Nevertheless, while there were clearly questionable official influences, OAS observers could not point to systematic repression driving the relatively low turnout, and other political observers noted that apathy on the part of many voters and an ill-conceived opposition abstention strategy, combined with still broad FSLN popular support, explain the Sandinistas’ victories.

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