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Monday, November 06, 2006

Ortega Gets Second Chance in Nicaragua

By Circles Robinson

Daniel Ortega has won Nicaragua’s presidential election on the first round, says the largest national election observer group Ethics and Transparency.

In a comprehensive quick count involving returns from over a thousand of the 11,274 polling stations, Ortega, of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), garnered 38.49 of the vote compared to 29.52 percent for Eduardo Montealegre of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance, said Roberto Courtney, executive director of the election watchdog organization.

The unofficial report from Ethics and Transparency makes it clear that Ortega’s margin of victory was sufficient (more than the 5 percent required) to avoid a runoff.

Ortega was Nicaragua's president from 1985-1990.

Jose Rizo, candidate of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, winner of the last two presidential elections, had 24.15 percent according to Courtney.

Edmundo Jarquin of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) polled only 7.44 percent and Eden Pastora of Alternative for Change 0.40 percent, estimates Ethics and Transparency.

In 2001, Ortega lost to the current president Enrique Bolanos 56 to 42 percent, but in the next five years a division among the right wing Liberals opened the door for an FSLN victory.

Ortega’s running mate is Jaime Morales Carazo, a former “Contra” leader who joined the apparent president-elect in his successful campaign of “peace, love and reconciliation.”

The vote indicates that the FSLN will have a minority in the National Assembly but the figures on seats to the 90-member legislature have yet to be released.

The Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) gave its last report at 3:30 a.m. and had Ortega ahead of Montealegre 40.04 to 33.29 with 14.65 percent of the vote tallied.

CSE President Roberto Rivas is expected to make a new announcement with a far greater percentage of votes later this morning.


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