[Marxism] Guardian Unlimited: Huge vote of confidence for Sandinistas but conservative showing a surprise

octob1917 at aol.com octob1917 at aol.com
Fri Nov 5 09:56:05 MST 2004

Joe Davison spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited site and thought you should see it.

To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk

Huge vote of confidence for Sandinistas but conservative showing a surprise 
Jonathan Steele and Tony Jenkins
Tuesday November 06 1984
The Guardian

The ruling Sandinistas looked set yesterday for an overwhelming victory in Nicaragua 's elections, taking roughly 69 per cent of the votes in early returns. Based on a massive turnout of 82 per cent of registered voters, the Sandinista presidential candidate, Mr Daniel Ortega, was running well ahead of his two nearest rivals from rightwing parties. The Democratic Conservatives and the Independent Liberals took about 11 per cent of the votes. 
With a sixth of the 3,892 polling stations reporting, the voting figures were: Popular Social Christian Party, 7,157 Popular Action Movement-Marxist-Leninist, 1,201 Democratic Conservative Party, 14,368 Sandinista National Liberation Front, 87,952 Communist Party, 1,866 Independent Liberals, 14,767 and the Socialist Party, 1,748 Counting 12,199 void votes, the Sandinistas secured 69.3 per cent of the valid vote and 63.2 per cent of the total vote. 

The result represents a huge vote of confidence in the Sandinistas, who overthrew the Somoza dictatorship five years ago, and a strong repudiation of President Reagan's war against Nicaragua . 

By also showing support for the opposition parties, voters signalled their approval of the 'national dialogue' which the Government inaugurated last week. The three small rightwing parties which boycotted Sunday's elections are also taking part in this dialogue, which is aimed at providing a forum for all parties to reach a consensus on the main lines of future policy, regardless of the election results. 

But the Sandinistas were defeated in a few areas. In Chontales, a cattle-breeding area south-east of here, they were beaten into third place by Conservatives and the Independent Liberals. 

A senior Sandinista source said that the party was 'happy with the result, though we won less than we expected.' They were surprised at the strong Conservative showing, which they put down to the party's long tradition of operating in the countryside, where it was once the only official opposition to Somoza. 

The election won broad approval from international observes who came here to monitor it, and it should help to strengthen West European backing for the Nicaraguans. 

Several of these observers made favourable contrasts with this year's elections in El Salvador. Lord Chitnis, the special representative of Mr David Steel, the Liberal leader, said: 'Imperfect though this election has been, it has certainly been better than the one in El Salvador, about whose legitimacy the British and US governments have no doubts.' 

Mr Thorvald Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian defence minister, the Socialist International's special envoy, commented: 'in El Salvador, some parties did not take part for fear of their lives. Here, some withdrew only because they felt the conditions were unsatisfactory.' 

On the conduct of the election on polling day, Lord Chitnis said: 'I went to 20 polling stations, and it was actually very dull. Nothing went wrong, unlike the chaos in El Salvador.' 

He added that there was no doubt that the vote was secret. 

Mr Stoltenberg said five facts should be remembered: Nicaragua 's war, fear of invasion, poverty, the lack of a democratic tradition and the fact that world attention was focused on Nicaragua . 

The campaign had obviously been very fierce, he said. There had been censorship, some harassment of the Opposition and, to start with no equal broadcasting time. 

The US yesterday denounced the elections as a farce because it said there was no meaningful opposition. 

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

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