RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nicaraguan presidential aspirant and journalist Cristiana Chamorro Barrios proposed this Friday to choose through a poll a single presidential candidate for the opposition to face Sandinista Daniel Ortega, who is seeking new reelection in the November elections.
“We are on time to put Nicaragua first and achieve unity around a single candidate, selected by all the opposition, registered and not registered, that is not important, but the legitimacy that gives us the popular consensus,” said Chamorro Barrios, daughter of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), in a statement.
“Ortega has no legitimacy, legitimacy belongs to the people. Let their voice be heard. Let’s use the national polls for that and select the candidate with the greatest popular support to win by a representative and absolute majority”, she advocated in the statement, which she titled “The people have the power to defeat Ortega”.
The daughter of journalist and national hero Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, assassinated in 1978 for criticizing dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, indicated: “if we act with that criterion, the spirit of April”, in allusion to the anti-government demonstrations that broke out in 2018, “will have been reborn in the electoral unity of the opposition, always led with the will of the people.”
“USEFUL VOTE”, THIRD WAY, OR ABSTENTION.
The Nicaraguan opposition failed to register an electoral alliance to dispute power to President Ortega in the November general elections, which has opened the doors to two options: to resort to the “useful vote” or for a third way to emerge.
Abstention is the other ghost that haunts the political environment after the Citizens’ Alliance for Freedom and the National Coalition, the two main opposition blocks, failed to sign an electoral alliance.
However, the opposition still has until July 28 to achieve a de facto alliance, with the presentation of candidacies for popularly elected positions, including that of president and vice-president of the Republic, and thus face Ortega together.
The Alianza Ciudadanos por la Libertad registered its alliance with the Partido Movimiento de Unidad Costeña (PAMUC) and the Alianza Cívica por la Justicia y la Democracia (Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy), to which belong representatives of the two main employers’ organizations and student leaders, but not with the National Coalition, with which it held negotiations until the last moment.
CHAMORRO BARRIOS: I WILL NOT DIVIDE THE VOTE
Chamorro Barrios reaffirmed that she would not accept candidacy for one of the opposition blocs.
“From the moment I said yes to Nicaragua, I committed myself not to divide the vote and to serve Nicaraguans in the position that the people decide to defeat Ortega and achieve democracy, freedoms, and a future of progress for all,” he said.
“In these confusing times,” he continued, “I decide to continue at the side of all Nicaraguans, pushing, first, for conditions for free, fair and transparent elections that honor the sacred right of the people to choose in freedom,” and second, that I would support a single candidate.
For the center-right Citizens for Liberty Alliance, the presidential pre-candidates are economist Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Cristiana’s cousin, and academic Arturo Cruz, ambassador to the United States for the Ortega government between 2007 and 2009. Also, veteran conservative politician Noel Vidaurre and computer scientist Américo Treminio.
For the coalition are Dr. María Eugenia Alonzo, former contra guerrilla Luis Fley, Afro-descendant activist George Henríquez Cayasso, peasant leader Medardo Mairena, academic and former secretary of the Ministry of Defense (2004-2007) Félix Maradiaga, and businessman and journalist Miguel Mora.
The opponents, who are fragmented, are looking for ways to defeat the Sandinistas, led by Daniel Ortega, 75 years old, who on January 10 completed 14 consecutive years in his second stage as president of Nicaragua, after coordinating a Government Junta from 1979 to 1985 and presiding the country for the first time from 1985 to 1990.