The opposition Blue and White National Unity group (UNAB) said on Tuesday that “it does not recognize the electoral process that culminates with a national vote on November 7th as “legitimate or legal”.
They maintain that it “does not comply with internationally accepted standards in electoral matters.” They warned that their political organization is entering “a new stage of civic struggle,” though they did not spell out what that might entail.
“This new stage of struggle must not be reduced to a discussion on voting or not voting. This new stage is to push for an authentic electoral process, in which the Nicaraguan people are guaranteed that their votes will be respected,” said Alexa Zamora, from UNAB’s political council. She did not provide further details of the actions they will take, calling that “counterproductive”.
She clarified that this “does not mean that the National Unity has renounced its main objective” of getting rid of Ortega. “We will continue working for the unity of all political and social forces who are genuinely interested in leaving the Ortega era behind and embracing democracy. We will continue to promote and organize various forms of civic struggle and resistance throughout the country.”
Voting: A Personal Decision
Although the UNAB does not recognize the electoral process or its results, the organization made it clear that they are not calling for a “no vote” in November because suffrage is an individual right and each person must decide whether or not they will participate.
According to Alex Hernandez, from the UNAB’s political council, this organization does not intend to “curtail or limit” the rights of Nicaraguans.
“Voting or not voting in this electoral process is a right and each citizen’s decision. What we (UNAB) are doing is speaking the truth, pointing out that this electoral process is not reliable,” he stressed.
The UNAB also charged that the Ortega-Murillo regime “has already decided the results of the election,” a situation that will not change if the population abstains from voting, or if, on the contrary, they go out to vote en masse.
“The absolute partiality of the Supreme Electoral Council and its magistrates, together with the murkiness seen as the electoral rolls were purged, along with the May 4th changes to the Electoral Law which abolish electoral observation (national or international) and eliminate any possibility of submitting appeals to the Supreme Court – all this has ended any opportunity to compete on equal terms in an election,” said UNAB’s Ariel Sotelo
The Regime Intensifies the Repression
UNAB’s decision to not recognize the electoral process and its results became clear the day after 8 alliances and political parties registered their candidates for president, vice president and legislative deputies with the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE). Most of the candidates were unknown and had no political experience. Since the court’s May 6th call for elections, the Ortega-Murillo regime has intensified its repression against any real opposition.
This has resulted in 31 new political prisoners, including seven presidential candidates, human rights defenders, former public officials and journalists. The police detained all of them to “investigate” them for allegedly “carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs,” as spelled out in Law 1055 – the catch-all Sovereignty Law, and of course, “money laundering”.