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Nicaraguan Elections and Prospects for Democracy in 2021

Date & Time

May. 21, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm ET


You can watch the event recording HERE.

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?

Hosted By

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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