The Observatorio Ciudadano Urnas Abiertas denounced the “constant abuse of state resources” by the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in the launching of their election campaign prior to the voting scheduled for November 7.
In a report on the electoral campaign in Nicaragua, which officially began last Saturday, they explained that “the conditions of this electoral campaign are unfair because the FSLN is in permanent propaganda from State institutions, neighborhood structures and its media and social networks.”
They point out that the misuse of state resources is reflected in the “distribution of houses, vaccination campaigns, handing out of property titles, inauguration of infrastructure projects, among other governmental programs that are permanently used for partisan and electoral purposes.
Perpetual Electoral Campaign, despite outbreak of Covid-19
The report prepared by this multidisciplinary group that emerged to share analysis regarding the electoral process, states that even though the ruling FSLN “did not announce the launching of its electoral campaign as such,” it has called for 4,300 “recreational activities,” amid a serious outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In these cultural, entertainment and sports activities, the Observatory corroborated that “there is no restriction of people, time, or of any other type.” This, despite the fact that the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) established a reduction of in-person political rallies to no more than 200 people and that they should last the shortest possible time. The recommendation was between 30 minutes and an hour, taking into consideration the health situation created by Covid-19.
“This is not the first time that the CSE carries out maneuvers that affect the electoral process based on this global health situation. On August 12, this body modified the Electoral Calendar invoking the pandemic to reduce the period of the electoral campaign from 75 to 40 days,” they noted.
The group mentioned that of the seven political parties that participate in the electoral process, only two publicly reported that they carried out in-person activities. “The beginning of this campaign that ends on November 3, has been marked by low participation of supporters and irregularities,” they emphasize.
Threats and surveillance by FSLN supporters
They highlight in the report that the electoral campaign has been “marked by messages of violence and threats” by FSLN supporters through social networks.”
“The posts warn opponents not to take to the streets to hold demonstrations during this period,” they stated.
The document alerts that the polling company M&R Consultants, “recognized for its collaboration with the Sandinista Government, took to the streets (…) to survey the population about their political preference for the general elections this coming November 7.”
During these visits “they ask questions about the management of the Government led by Ortega, about health, drinking water, electricity and other projects,” but indicate that “all the questions are designed to favor the FSLN party.”
They also denounced that on Saturday, September 25, public school principals in company with members of the National Association of Educators of Nicaragua (ANDEN) “urged teachers to take to the streets to visit Sandinista sympathizers to commit them to vote for Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.”
“The teachers must fill out sheets that indicate the details of the people visited and were threatened with dismissal in case of not complying with the order,” they stressed.
In the coming vote scheduled for Sunday, November 7, President Daniel Ortega will seek his fourth continuous presidential term since his return to the Presidency in January 2007. Meanwhile, the opposition is dismantled with seven imprisoned presidential candidates and a de facto police state imposed since September 2018, in an attempt by the Government to prohibit protests of any kind.