2011 Nicaragua Presidential Election

In November everyone over the age of 16 in Nicaragua will vote on the next president of Nicaragua.  Nicaragua always has a high voter turnout with many waiting in lines for hours to place their vote.

2011 Nicaragua Presidential Elections

The presidential elections which will surely bring out lots of emotion from supporters of the different parties involved.  No one knows what exactly will happen in this November 6 election. 


Current president Daniel Ortega has been able to change the constitution to allow him to run for re-election.  Nicaraguan law did not allow the president to run for re-election.  However, Ortega’s party controls the National Assembly (Parliament) and the National Assembly has changed the laws to allow Ortega to run for re-election.  The National Assembly said the one term law for presidents was for those presidents who are corrupt but Ortega was not one of those presidents.  Therefore he deserved an exception to the law.  Because Nicaraguan government looks to the law as merely a suggestion and not something that needs to be followed it is hard to take politics seriously.  It is impossible to say what will happen between now and November but in Nicaragua nothing runs according to script.

The 4 other candidates (in no particular order) for the presidency:

1)      Miguel Angel Garcia (Alliance for the Republic)

2)      Arnoldo Alemán (Constitutionalist Liberal Party)

3)      Fabio Gadeo Mantilla (Independent Liberal Party)

4)      Enrique Quiñonez (Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance)

Miguel Angel Garcia is the evangelical candidate for the presidency.  He is currently the leader of the Assemblies of God organization.  Garcia previously served as a education minister under a previous administration.  He is counting on the votes of the evangelical community.  Although there is a large evangelical community that strategy has never worked for previous evangelical candidates.  Voters view voting for them as a wasted vote because they are usually not one of the front runners in the election.

Arnold Alemán gained popularity during his time as mayor of Managua.  He used that popularity to get to be the president of Nicaragua in the late 1990’s and ended up being imprisoned after stepping out of office.  He was accused of stealing millions of dollars and property during his presidency.  However, with the way Nicaraguan politics work Alemán was able to get himself out of house arrest and is now running for president again.  With his history it is hard to imagine Alemán as on of the front runners to challenge Ortega because of all the corruption that is linked to his presidency.  This is Nicaragua and things do not go by what is expected so don’t count Alemán out just yet.

Fabio Gadeo Mantilla is part of the Independent Liberal Party which is a combination of factions of the other parties that are dissatisfied with the other political parties.  Recent polls show Mantilla in second place behind Ortega.  He started a news radio station called Radio Corporación.  He is also serving as Nicaragua’s deputy to Central America’s Parliament.

Enrique Quiñonez of Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance is the candidate for the party that was the runner up in the 2006 elections.  Eduardo Montealegre was the candidate for that election.  Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance broke off from the Constitutionalist Liberal Party during the last elections due to disagreements.

The elections are still a little over four months away and it is hard to tell what exactly will happen.  With many of the parties divided, it has made Ortega the front runner.  It’s his election to lose.  Whether he should even be one of the candidates is an entirely different debate.

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