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FSLN Declares Victory in Caribbean Coast Electoral Farce

Daniel Ortega’s party claims total control of the Autonomous Regional Councils and Governments. Urnas Abiertas observers say only 13.28% participated

Press conference of magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE). Photo: CCC

Redacción Confidencial

5 de marzo 2024


The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) will obtain total control of the Governments of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, after the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) proclaimed its victory with 88.95% of the votes, in its preliminary report following the regional elections on March 3. The results come after the Government party once again annulled the competition for elections tailored to its liking, and amid persistent irregularities during voting day, including various forms of vote coercion.

Brenda Rocha, president of the CSE, read the results with 99.20% of the polling stations reporting, in which the party of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo secured total control of the Regional Councils in the North and South Caribbean with 147,762 votes.

The FSLN controls the Executive Power and other branches of the State, including an absolute majority in the National Assembly. Additionally, in 2022, it took control of municipal governments in all 153 municipalities in the country. Now, after this new “electoral farce,” it will also administer the Autonomous Regional Councils and Governments in the two Caribbean regions of Nicaragua. Thus, it completes a de facto single-party system, as denounced by opposition organizations.

The director of the citizens observatory Urnas Abiertas, Olga Valle, described these regional elections as the dictatorship’s “final blow” to democracy, as it seeks to impose total control in the country.

Allied parties with few votes in the Caribbean regions

In these elections, 45 members of Regional Councils were elected in the North and another 45 in the South Caribbean regions of Nicaragua, which is the poorest and least populated in the country. Back in October 2023, the government closed down the Yatama indigenous party (Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Aslatakanka, which means “children of mother earth” in the Miskito language) and jailed two of its top leaders.

According to the CSE report, the second most voted party is the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) with 7.83% of the total. Next is the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) with 1.83%, the Independent Liberal Party (PLI) with 0.76%, and the Alliance for the Republic (APRE) had 0.62% of the votes.

The electoral authorities maintain that there was a 48.30% voter turnout. However, according to Urnas Abiertas, the CSE data does not correspond “to the sparce flow of voters observed during the day.”

The citizen observation group said “citizen participation was approximately 13.28% in the 15 municipalities and 30 constituencies called to vote.” Abstention would be, according to this organization, 86.72%

Pressures and vote espionage by the FSLN

During the process, FSLN political operatives provided codes to “confirm” that citizens voted in favor of the ruling party, during the Caribbean regional elections. Residents were obligated to note these “codes” on their ballots, reported Urnas Abiertas.

“The instruction has been that all people must write this code on the ballot to subsequently verify their vote in favor of the FSLN. Although this practice has certainly been used in past elections, it is the first time it has been observed on a widespread basis,” the organization noted.

This practice was observed in eight of the 15 municipalities called to vote on March 3, 2024, including: Kukra Hill, Corn Island, Bluefields, Siuna, Desembocadura de Río Grande, Waspam, Paiwas, and Prinzapolka.

“With this practice, in addition to exerting pressure for citizens to vote, they are violating the right for every citizen to cast their vote in secret,” Urnas Abiertas denounced.

The observatory also warned of the presence of armed officers from the National Police inside polling places. Likewise, they reported the installation of control posts on the outside.

Given the low voter turnout, it was also reported that FSLN political operatives used state vehicles and boats to mobilize pressured populations to vote, including beneficiaries of social programs and workers of state institutions.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.