Nicaraguan Elections and Prospects for Democracy in 2021
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On November 7, 2021, Nicaragua will hold national elections for president, congress, and local authorities. The elections will take place in a context of weakened institutions, with an electoral system and rules that tilt heavily in favor of the incumbent, Daniel Ortega, and the Sandinista party. Since widespread anti-government protests erupted in April 2018, more than 300 citizens have been killed by government forces and paramilitary groups aligned with them. In addition, the Ortega government has adopted several repressive laws that severely restrict civic space and political rights in the country.
Thus far, the opposition has failed to unite behind a single candidate to oppose President Ortega, who has ruled continuously since 2007. Given the severe limitations on civic space, press freedom, and the exercise of political rights, what are the prospects for democracy in Nicaragua? Is it possible to create better conditions for electoral competition? Will the opposition abstain in the face of current obstacles? Will the opposition unify? Is there a constructive role for the international community to play?
Latin American Program
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