«Urnas Abiertas» prepares to monitor municipal elections in Nicaragua

The independent observatory “Urnas Abiertas”, on May 25 announced its inspection day for the municipal electoral process in Nicaragua to be held in November of the current year. In addition, it calls on citizens to “be part of this mission.”

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The observation work will be oriented “to document the enabling conditions for suffrage and investigate the type and level of control that the Executive has over local powers,” the organization said.

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Within its planning, “Urnas Abiertas” “intends to evaluate the transparency of municipal management and how it impacts the living conditions of Nicaraguans. Access to public services, social programs, and infrastructure projects that guarantee decent living conditions for people depend mostly on the work carried out by municipalities with taxes from citizens.”

Puede leer también: Denuncian retraso de convocatorias a elecciones municipales y ausencia de condiciones democráticas

Mayors, keys in the repression

The mayor’s offices are key in the repressive strategy of the Ortega Murillo regime, which is why the objective of monitoring and denouncing what happened in the 2022 municipal elections, warns the observatory.

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“We know that any process managed by the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) will lack legitimacy. However, we recognize that at the local level there are power relations, corruption networks, and other dynamics that deserve to be controlled, documented, and denounced”, said Olga Valle, director of “Urnas Abiertas”.

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Valle stressed that, within the organization that she directs, “the commitment to monitor, document and evidence the anomalies and the absence of democratic conditions persists, to continue demanding a complete and credible electoral process, to continue building citizenship through the processes of observation, to continue working in collaboration with citizen networks, but above all to continue witnessing the civic resistance that is shown in abstention and auditing.”

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In the presidential voting process in November 2021, the citizen networks of “Urnas Abiertas” collected 2,031 reports of anomalies and political violence from 84{e079e928c0ffac93fc2d0bcb855951dc424555b296fe89c532c6f4d7d2083413} of the country’s municipalities, which led to the conclusion that, in general, the elections took place under absolute police control. and paramilitary.

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Ivania Álvarez, director of networks for this independent organization, asserted that “Local mayors’ offices were the institutions that made the most vehicles available for the transfer of voters and supporters of the FSLN, thus evidencing the coordinated action that exists between all public institutions and the Executive.”

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Álvarez added that the mayor’s offices are institutions that lack autonomy and respond to the party’s national guidelines. A clear example is a sanction imposed by the United States Department of State on three Nicaraguan mayors for being linked to the serious human rights violations that occurred in Nicaragua as of 2018: Shadrach Zeledón (Matagalpa), Leónidas Centeno (Jinotega), and Francisco Valenzuela (Estelí).”

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Only in the first municipal elections in 2008, when Daniel Ortega was in power, did the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) seize 72{e079e928c0ffac93fc2d0bcb855951dc424555b296fe89c532c6f4d7d2083413} of the mayoralties through an unprecedented fraud in the country. Currently, 135 communes are administered by the FSLN, while 18 by opposition parties, recorded “Urnas Abiertas”.

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According to the Political Violence Observatory, in the first half of May, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) should have published the official call for the municipal elections that will take place on November 6, 2021. However, these elections have not been officially convened. “The delay in the publication of the call and the electoral calendar, as well as the decrease in time that was carried out in the reforms this month, suggest that the government is seeking an express process without the possibility of organization, participation, and citizen oversight,” he concludes. the organization.

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