Daniel Ortega, 75-year-old veteran politician, jailed seven would-be presidential challengers detained since June. On Sunday, Ortega is assured a fourth consecutive five-year term as all his opponents are dismissed as regime collaborators, Al Jazeera says.
Daniel Ortega remains the Americas’ longest-serving leader who set to win re-election after jailing top rivals and criminalizing most dissent. He ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, after the guerrilla ousting of US-backed Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
In 2021, Nicaraguans have voted in presidential elections denounced by the US President as a “sham,” as Ortega removed his opponents, most of them jailed or in exile. The election took place without international observers and with most foreign media denied access to the country amid protests in Costa Rica, Spain, the US and Guatemala, nations that are home to thousands of Nicaraguan exiles.
Polling stations closed on Sunday after 11 hours of voting under the watchful eye of 30,000 police and soldiers maintaining what right groups described as a climate of fear. As the local media report, members of Ortega’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) went from house to house calling citizens to the ballot box.
Results of the vote, which the opposition said was marked by mass abstention even as the government claimed a high turnout, are expected within hours.
Only “election attendants” and journalists from nations the government considers “friendly,” received accreditation. In their turn, Washington and Brussels have imposed sanctions against the Ortega family members and allies.