The United States said Monday it is “deeply concerned” by what it described as Nicaragua’s “flawed presidential and legislative” electoral process. Daniel Ortega, the country’s president and a former left-wing guerrilla with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, was elected to a third consecutive term this week.
The U.S. State Department accused the Nicaraguan government in a press release of sidelining opposition candidates, restricting domestic observation at the polls as well as access to voting credentials, and taking other anti-democratic actions to tilt the outcome of the election in Ortega’s favor.
“The decision by the Nicaraguan government not to invite independent international electoral observers further degraded the legitimacy of the election,” the State Department said, adding that it will “continue to press the Nicaraguan government to uphold democratic practices including press freedom and respect for universal human rights in Nicaragua, consistent with our countries’ shared obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
Ortega, 70, was first elected as the country’s president in 1984, winning his second election in 2006, and his third in 2011.
Despite its reservations about the Nicaraguan election, the State Department emphasized America’s “strong partnership” with the country, and vowed to continue working “on behalf of the Nicaraguan people to achieve a more prosperous, secure, and democratic Nicaragua.”