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Ortega deals a blow to all opposition-ruled communities in Nicaragua

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Two police officers are photographed with Daniel Ortega on June 13, 2022.Cristóbal Venegas (AP)

Four Sandinista flags were raised simultaneously in four Nicaraguan town halls this Monday morning, after the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo carried out a de facto coup using armed police against these local governments, which were locked in a historically oppositional state in the north of the country area are located . The ruling party took over the mayors’ chairs in El Almendro, Murra, Yalí and El Cuá in an act that completely buried municipal autonomy in this Central American country and ended the consolidation of a one-party model, say analysts consulted by EL PAÍS. At night the siege was still maintained in the encroached town halls.

The four mayors were ruled until this Monday by the Citizens for Freedom (CxL) party, a group banned by the electorate in August 2021 amid the repressive escalation unleashed by the presidential couple and thereafter to perpetuate them in power led to arrest of all opposition presidential candidates and critical voices.

Police forces from Daniel Ortega's government guard a building on which the Sandinista flag is flown alongside the Nicaraguan flag.
Police forces from Daniel Ortega’s government guard a building on which the Sandinista flag is flown alongside the Nicaraguan flag.decency

The Nicaraguan Institute for Community Development (Inifom) argued before the mayors that they were fired because “the CxL party has no legal status”. Immediately, the Inifom appointed new Sandinista authorities in the communities who, protected by police officers, to the astonishment of the citizens of these communities, who are part of what is believed to be the old corridor of the Contras, the armed guerrillas, who raise red and black flags in the In the 1980s he fought under the auspices of Ronald Reagan against the Sandinista Revolution.

“The police occupation of the premises and the illegal dismissal of the elected mayors under the Citizens for Freedom banner is a very serious attack on the will of the people and on municipal autonomy,” said Kitty Monterrey, President of CxL in Exile in Costa, opposite EL PAÍS. Delicious. “The mayors and councilors legitimately elected in the CxL box in 2017 are not party officials, they are municipal authorities elected by their citizens and have demonstrated this during their tenure.” These municipalities were mainly governed by opposition to Sandinismo, and despite electoral fraud and scrutiny over electoral power, Ortega was never able to take control of it until he succeeds now military manual.

Silvio Prado, an expert on communalism and a sociologist, called Inifom’s argument “legalized”. “This is absurd because a party is not a private company. When a party goes to the polls and gets a certain number of votes, they are a mandate for those who represent them. In the case of government elections, the mandate does not expire with the dissolution of the legal entity. There is no reason in the law of political parties, the Electoral Law of Nicaragua, that states that the mandate of those elected expires because they have lost legal personality.

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Amid a repressive context, the ousted mayors handed over the municipalities to avoid violence or imprisonment. Although fear is spreading among them and they prefer not to speak to journalists to avoid reprisals, local sources assure EL PAÍS that “the real coup plotters” are Ortega and Murillo, referring to the official propaganda that insists on it that this was the case in 2018 after the massive social protests. They became victims of a “coup attempt”.

According to local media, a young man waves a Sandinista flag in front of the Pantasma mayor's office, pictured on July 2.
According to local media, a young man waves a Sandinista flag in front of the Pantasma mayor’s office, pictured on July 2.decency

“It’s a coup at the local level,” says an official with the Pantasma mayor’s office, the first to be taken over by the government this Saturday. So the five mayors governed by CxL suffered from the Ortega-Murillo coup. Nicaragua has 152 municipalities, only 18 of which were governed by non-Sandinista political parties. Of those 18, five were from CxL, but now they are becoming official and the government dominates more than 90% of the communities.

The filling of these mayoral positions comes just four months before the local elections planned for November. However, the electoral power has not yet convened the process, which has been criticized for the lack of guarantees for transparency and competitiveness. “With these files, the regime confirms that it has no interest in rehabilitating the electoral process, or even in preserving the appearance of legality in the next local elections,” Monterrey said. “Restoring respect for the popular will through free elections remains essential for Nicaragua to emerge from this deep crisis, and we Nicaraguans will not stop demanding it.”

The local politician warns that the seizure of these mayoral posts not only completely destroys municipal autonomy in Nicaragua, which for years has been torpedoed by the government by cutting municipal transfers as punishment for opposition headquarters, office looting and police harassment, but also “the Single party consolidated model.

“In November they will hold local elections, but they will vote as they wish,” Prado told EL PAÍS. “Elections with one-party modalities like in Cuba; The only party that has a chance of winning is the Sandinista Front and they will not lose any seats. So they make sure they have the freedom, just like in the past elections, to distribute crumbs to the collaborating parties and give those parties a minor mayorship.

But also, according to Prado, it was a message from the Ortega-Murillo family to officials and Sandinistas about the totalitarian escalation they are driving, that the presidential couple “can do whatever they want.” “In short, what they are telling him (Ortega and Murillo) is that they are interested in the will of the electorate and are dismantling one of the last vestiges of citizenship: voting and being elected,” adds Prado.

The mayors who took the hit are Óscar Gadea (Pantasma); Isidro Irías (El Cuá), Noel Moreno (Yalí), Francisco Luis Herrera (Murra) and Reynaldo Galeano (El Almendro). “Today the flags of the ruling party were raised in these mayors’ offices, another act of disrespect for citizens and institutions,” laments the president of CxL, who receives reports from headquarters from Costa Rica, surrounded by special forces police officers.

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Source elpais.com

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