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Nicaragua: Halleslevens to head the National Assembly

n the FSLN electoral sweep, 64 deputies from the official party will maintain control of Parliament with an insignificant presence of deputies from the

El exjefe del Ejército de Nicaragua, Omar Halleslevens, en una comparencia en la ONU. Foto: Cortesía.

Arlen Cerda

16 de noviembre 2016


Omar Halleslevens, former head of the Nicaraguan Army and the country’s current Vice President, will assume his constitutionally allotted deputy’s seat in the National Assembly taking on the role of presiding over the legislature.

Halleslevens will replace Sandinista René Nuñez, who even after his death in September was not replaced as head of the Legislative Branch.

Although there’s been no official confirmation of this, sources tied to the government party take it as a given that Halleslevens will occupy the head position.

Last August, Halleslevens reaffirmed his loyalty to Daniel Ortega. “With the same disposition and willingness to go wherever the Frente determines; wherever Daniel asks me to be, that’s where I’m going to be,” declared the retired general.

Oscar René Vargas, sociologist and political analyst, has no doubt that Halleslevens is one of Ortega’s loyal figures and that naming him to this post represents another wink towards the Nicaraguan Army.

“That’s the message they sent when they didn’t replace René Nuñez.  They were assuring that no alternative leadership would arise until Halleslevens arrived,” Vargas declared.

The analyst sustains that in this way Ortega also strengthens his ties of loyalty with the Nicaraguan Army, maintaining a tidy bridge with the military.

Official sweep grows

There’s no doubt about the growth in the FSLN majority in Parliament.  Last Friday, the Supreme Electoral Council published on their web page the preliminary results from the departmental and municipal elections and from the individual polling places, although they’re not yet complete.

The National Assembly is made up of 20 national deputies and 70 regional deputies.  In addition, there are two constitutionally assigned deputies - the outgoing president and vice president.  Since Ortega will remain in power, only Halleslevens will take one of these seats.  There’s also a seat for the presidential runner-up, in this case liberal Máximo Rodríguez.

In 2011, the electoral tribunal awarded the Sandinista Front a total of 62 deputy seat - 13 elected nationally and 49 departmentally, including 13 from Managua.  The only two deputies of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) allied with them.

The preliminary results from 2016, according to Confidencial’s calculations, indicate that 13 FSLN candidates enter directly from the national vote.  Antonio Vilchez, stand-in for René Nuñez, will occupy the first seat.  Others are: Reyna Rueda, secretary of the Managua Municipal Council; former PLC deputy Wilfredo Navarro, reelected as an ally; the current head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Juana Argeñal; union leader Gustavo Porras, also reelected; Florence Levy, regional political secretary from the North Caribbean; José Antonio Zepeda and Maria Manuela Sacasa, the Miskito allies from the North Caribbean; and finally Osorno Coleman, Juana Molina, Wálmaro Gutiérrez, Alba Gónzalez and Pedro Haslam.


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Three will enter directly from the Liberal Constitutionalist Party list: national president María Haydée Osuna; former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales; and business executive Azucena Castillo.

For the minority parties, the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) president, Alejandro Mejía Ferreti, who was a deputy from 2002-2007, will obtain a seat once again; and for the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), Pedro Joaquín Treminio, who with Pedro Reyes presided over the destitution of the 28 opposition deputies under the party umbrella in July.

“Mosquito-bite” opposition: from one to three deputies apiece

The 18 national deputies enter through the application of an electoral quota formula established in article 146 of the Electoral Law.  The quota is obtained by dividing the valid votes of the electoral district into the number of seats to assign.

Two seats are still pending.  Article 148 indicates that for assigning the pending seats, they apply a formula of the greater average.

According to the way that the Supreme Electoral Council applies that formula, the two remaining seats will be distributed among three candidates: Conservative Party President Alfredo César Aguirre, inscribed in the first position; Marlene Camacho, Pedro Reyes’ wife and a PLI deputy candidate; and another unnamed candidate from a third party.

In the 2011 elections, the PLC only obtained one deputy seat and they now have three.  In addition, the minority parties ALN, PLI, APRE and PC, categorized as “satellites” of the FSLN, will obtain one seat each.

The allocation of seats improves in the list of departmental deputies, where the FSLN will go up to 51 seats from 49; the PLC from 1 seat to 12; the PC, ALN and APRE will obtain one seat apiece whereas before they had none; and the newly reorganized “loyal” PLI will go down from 20 to 3 deputies.

In Managua the list includes María Fernanda Flores, wife of Liberal strongman Arnoldo Alemán, and the former Tax Commissioner Byron Jérez.

Former deputy Brooklyn Rivera, impeached and deposed in 2015, will return to Parliament, elected by the regional indigenous party Yatama in the North Caribbean.

According to the electoral calendar, the provisional publication of the results should be announced by November 14, followed by the presentation of the corresponding appeals and their resolution, so that the Electoral Council can proceed with the proclamation of those elected on November 24 and their official publication in the Gazette the following day.


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Arlen Cerda

Arlen Cerda

Periodista. Desde 2003 ha trabajado en medios tradicionales y digitales.