[Marxism] Nicaragua's Ortega wins presidential election: quick count

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 6 09:42:02 MST 2006

(Knowing the desperation with which Washington has opposed Ortega, along
with the steps Washington has taken to derail democratic elections when 
it didn't approve of their outcomes, I wouldn't be quite so sanguine about
the announced victory of Daniel Ortega and the FSLN. In any event, 40% 
and a 5% margin may be the agreement which the FSLN struck with others
to define victory, but it's hardly a defensible mandate. A plurality is
not a majority. Washington does not like to lose. And remember: It ain't 
over till it's over! And it's far, far from over.)

Via NY Transfer News Collective  *  All the News that Doesn't Fit
[The best thing about this result is that it hands the US regime yet another
defeat at an especially bad time for the miserable failure George Bush. 
A first-round win was generally regarded as Ortega's only hope, since the
conventional wisdom was that in a runoff, the rightwing anti-Ortega forces
would unite to defeat him.  

What this means for Nicaragua is anyone's guess. It certainly doesn't mean a
renewal of the hope that the FSLN and Sandinismo represented in 1979.
Ortega, were he not a totally corrupt opportunist bereft of princple, would
have a chance here to reunite the left and reach out to the breakaway MRS.
Don't look for that to happen. He is more likely, if anything, to cozy up
even more to the right wing -- the oligarchy, former contra killers and the
Church. A hollow victory, but for those in the US the good news is that
Bush, Rice, Ollie North and Jeane Kirkpatrick were not able to intimidate
Nicaraguans this time. We can only hope that Chavez and Fidel will some
influence on Danny.

Most important for Yanquis who care about Nicaragua is the task here in
the belly of the beast.  Defeat the empire, and Nicaragua will not be 
under the gun. It's a boring task, much less fun that coffee-picking
solidarity trips, but it has to be done, up here and by US citizens, 
if the major source of the hemisphere's woes is to be removed.

The vote-counting is ongoing. Details at the Nicaraguan Election Commission
site: http://www.cse.gob.ni .

-NY Transfer]

Xinhua via ChinaView - Nov 6, 2006

Nicaragua's Ortega wins presidential election: quick count

Related: Preliminary results show leftist leader leads Nicaragua vote

MANAGUA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Leftist Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, a U.S.
Cold War foe, won Nicaragua's presidential election with more than 38
percent of votes cast, according to a quick count released on Monday.

Ortega enjoyed an almost nine-point lead over his closest rival Eduardo
Montealegre, Washington's favored candidate, the count said.

Ortega pulled in 38.49 percent and Montealegre got 29.52 percent in the
quick count. The count had a margin of error of 1.7points.

Ortega needs at least 35 percent of the vote and an advantage of 5
percentage points over his closest rival to secure him a first-round win.

"These results are final," said Roberto Courtney, who headed the count,
adding that Ortega's lead was irreversible.

The race, 16 years after a U.S.-backed rebellion helped force him from
office, was Ortega's fifth consecutive presidential campaign.

Ortega's victory, if confirmed by final official results, would give
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a strong ally in the region while
threatening U.S. aid to the second-poorest nation in the hemisphere.


Bloomberg News - Nov 6, 2006 Last Updated: November 6, 2006 10:04 EST

Ortega Wins Nicaraguan Election, Early Count Shows

By Bill Faries

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista guerrilla leader who ran
Nicaragua in the 1980s, regained power by winning the Central American
country's presidential election, an early count of the votes showed.

Ortega, making his third bid to return to office since being voted out in
1990, won 40 percent of yesterday's vote with 15 percent of the polling
stations reporting, Nicaragua's electoral tribunal said on its Web site.
Ortega can win the election outright in the first round by attaining 40
percent of the vote or by getting 35 percent of the vote and defeating the
second-place candidate by at least 5 percentage points.

Ortega, whose rule in the 1980s was marked by soaring inflation and a civil
war against U.S.-backed rebels, had a lead of about 7 percentage points over
Eduardo Montealegre of the National Liberal Alliance party. Former vice
president Jose Rizo is in third place with 20 percent of the votes.

"We have to wait" for final results, Montealegre said in an interview with
CNN en Espanol. He said the election had been "plagued by irregularities,"
such as the slow vote count and polling stations opening late yesterday.

Etica y Transparencia, a Nicaraguan organization monitoring the election,
said a quick count of 10 percent of the country's 11,200 polling stations
shows Ortega with an insurmountable lead, Agence France Presse reported.
Roberto Courtney, director for Etica y Transparencia, didn't return
telephone calls seeking comment.

U.S. Aid

U.S. officials, including Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, have raised
alarm over the prospect of a victory by Ortega, 61. Gutierrez said $220
million in U.S. aid and Nicaragua's participation in the Central American
Free Trade Agreement would be at risk if Ortega wins.

After the polls closed last night, the official U.S. delegation observing
the elections issued a statement reporting "anomalies" in the voting
process, including polling stations that opened late or closed early.

"We are therefore not in a position at this time to make an overall judgment
on the fairness and transparency of the process," the delegation said in a

Jennifer McCoy, Americas director for the Atlanta-based Carter Center, said
by telephone an hour before the polls closed yesterday that the group hadn't
seen any reports or allegations of problems. The Carter Center is leading an
international delegation of election observers, including former U.S.
president Jimmy Carter.


Oliver North, Ortega's antagonist in the 1980s Iran-Contra Affair, has also
challenged the ex-president's campaign to return to office. North, a retired
U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who ran an illegal program funding
rebels seeking to topple Ortega, flew to Nicaragua to support his opponents.

Nicaragua is the Western Hemisphere's second-poorest country with a $5
billion economy, according to the Inter- American Development Bank.

The Organization of American States and the Carter Center, which is based in
Atlanta, have sent observers to monitor the election. The Carter Center
delegation is led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, ex-Peruvian
President Alejandro Toledo and ex-Panamanian President Nicolas

To see the Web site for Nicaragua's electoral commission click
http://www.cse.gob.ni .


The New York Times via Int'l Herald Tribune - Nov 6, 2006

Ortega leading in Nicaragua vote

Authorities dismiss US criticism of alleged "anomalies"

The New York Times

Daniel Ortega, who fought the American-backed contras in a bloody war in the
1980s, held a strong lead over four other Nicaraguan presidential candidates
in preliminary results here, officials said early Monday.

With 15 percent of polling stations reporting, Ortega had 40 percent, versus
33 percent for his Harvard-educated rival Eduardo Montealegre of the
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance.

Trailing behind were a Sandinista dissident Edmundo Jarquín; the governing
party's candidate, Jose Rizo; and a former contra rebel, Eden Pastora.

If Ortega, a former Marxist revolutionary, does not squeeze out a first-
round victory and is forced into a runoff next month, analysts expect him to
lose, because the country's strong anti-Ortega opposition would unite
against him.

But this time, he has been ahead in polls throughout the campaign and stands
to benefit from a change in election rules pushed through by his party, the
Sandinista National Liberation Front, that lowered the threshold for
victory. This time, a candidate needs 35 percent of the vote and a
five-percentage-point lead over the nearest opponent. Previously, candidates
needed 40 percent of the vote to gain the presidency. Ortega fell short of
that in 1990, 1996 and 2001.

The election Sunday in Nicaragua, the second-poorest nation in the
hemisphere, has become a tug-of-war issue between Venezuela and the United
States. The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has openly favored his
"brother" Ortega, while Washington remains wary of the balding 60-year-old,
once an iconic figure of the Latin American left and ally of the Soviet

The U.S. Embassy here issued a statement late Sunday saying it was too soon
to "make an overall judgment on the fairness and transparency of the

"We are receiving reports of some anomalies in the electoral process," the
statement read. It cited the late opening of polling places, the slowness of
the voting process and the premature closing of some polling places.

Before reading the first round of early results Monday, Roberto Rivas,
president of the Supreme Electoral Council, sharply criticized the U.S.
statement, saying: "We have promised the Nicaraguan people transparent
elections, and that's what we've done. I think there were enough observers
to witness that."

The election was being monitored by about 18,000 observers.

Ortega's supporters flooded the streets, setting off celebratory fireworks,
waving the party's red-and- black flag and swaying to the candidate's
campaign song, set to the tune of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

Montealegre, whose Liberal Alliance broke from the governing
Constitutionalist Liberal Party after former President Arnoldo Alemán was
convicted of corruption, brushed aside Ortega's lead, saying: "This doesn't
show anything." Leonel Teller, a spokesman for the Constitutionalist Liberal
Party, warned that the electoral authorities were "inciting something that
could end in blood and violence."

Observers said voting over all was peaceful, although many polling stations
opened late, leaving long lines of people waiting to cast their ballots.
After the polls closed, groups of angry voters pounded on shuttered doors,
screaming at officials inside to let them vote.

Earlier, Ortega cast his vote amid a throng of cameramen, saying he was
confident there wouldn't be a runoff.

"Nicaragua wins today," he said before climbing into his Mercedes sport
utility vehicle and driving away with his wife.

Marvin López, a 46-year-old doctor waiting in a long line at the same
polling station where Ortega voted, said he feared an Ortega win would bring
back uncontrollable inflation and conflict.

"I don't want to return to a dictatorship, the misery, the abuse of
families' rights," he said


The Guardian - Nov 6, 2006  2:15 pm UTC

Ortega poised to return in Nicaragua

Staff and agencies

The Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, today looked increasingly likely to be
returned to power, 16 years after a US-backed rebellion helped to oust him
from office.

Preliminary results after 15% of ballots had been counted following
yesterday's elections in Nicaragua showed the former president had polled
40% of the vote, in what could be one of Latin America's biggest political

Early figures indicated he had opened up a lead of 7% over his
Harvard-educated rival, Eduardo Montealegre of the Nicaraguan Liberal

Mr Ortega needs to gain 40% of the vote, or 35% and an advantage of 5% over
his closest rival, to avoid a runoff next month.

Trailing behind were the Sandinista dissident Edmundo Jarquín, the
ruling-party candidate, José Rizo, and the former Contra rebel Edén Pastora.

The race is Mr Ortega's fifth consecutive presidential campaign. The former
Marxist and Soviet sympathiser won a 1984 election that was boycotted by
Sandinista opponents and condemned as unfair by the then US president,
Ronald Reagan.

Mr Ortega then lost in 1990 to Violeta Chamorro, who headed a multiparty
alliance drawn from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Mr Ortega's
popularity was damaged by the US-backed Contra guerrilla movement, which was
accused of waging of a brutal campaign of intimidation. His next two
presidential attempts, in 1996 and 2001, were also failures.

Mr Ortega's victory, if confirmed by final results, would give the
Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, a strong ally in the region. Mr Chávez
has already offered cheap oil if Mr Ortega wins. The Bush administration has
threatened to cut aid to Nicaragua, one of the world's poorest countries, if
Mr Ortega is returned to power.

The US embassy issued a statement late last night saying it was too soon to
"make an overall judgment on the fairness and transparency of the process".

Mr Ortega's supporters flooded the streets, setting off celebratory
fireworks, waving the party's red-and-black flag and swaying to the
candidate's campaign song, which is set to the tune of John Lennon's Give
Peace a Chance.

Mr Montealegre, whose party broke from the ruling Constitutionalist Liberal
party after the former president Arnoldo Alemán was convicted of corruption,
brushed aside Mr Ortega's lead, saying: "No one has won here. The Nicaraguan
people, in a runoff, will determine the next president."

Analysts have said Mr Noriega stands less chance of winning a runoff as
various opponents are likely to unite behind a single candidate.

Mr Ortega has received support from thousands of emigrants who returned to
vote. Many still have bitter memories of the Sandinistas' decade in power,
though Mr Ortega has repeatedly said he has changed, recasting himself as a
reconciler. His vice-presidential candidate, Jaime Morales, was once one of
his biggest enemies, serving as the spokesman for the Contras.

At stake is millions of dollars in potential investment, much of it from
foreign companies drawn to Nicaragua by the country's cheap labour, low
crime rates and decision to join the new Central American Free Trade
Agreement. Many are waiting to see if Mr Ortega wins and stays true to
promises to continue free-trade policies.
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