Nicaragua. Both the ruling Liberal Party PLC (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista) and the main opposition party Sandinist Party FSLN (Frente Sandinista de la Liberación Nacional) have experienced fragmentation trends during the year. Especially within the FSLN, excitement is rising ahead of the 2006 presidential election since the very popular former mayor of Managua and leader of the Sandinist dissident group Movimiento Sol, Herty Lewites, were ruled out at a party convention in February. Party leader Daniel Ortega retains grip on the party and was named presidential candidate, but the exclusion has tended to strengthen Lewite’s position. The dissatisfaction with the political pact made between PLC and FSLN in 1999 is great among supporters of both parties.
|Land area||130,370 km²|
|Residents per km²||47.6|
|Income per capita||5,900 USD|
|ISO 3166 code||NI|
|Time zone UTC||-6|
|Geographic coordinates||13 00 N, 85 00 W.|
According to countryaah, Managua is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Nicaragua. President Enrique Bolaños came under severe pressure in April after a rise in bus ticket prices led to extensive demonstrations and demands for his departure. When he and his ministers appeared on the balcony of the presidential palace April 26, they were bombarded with stones. The constitutional crisis between the president and Congress has also deepened. In January, Congress approved a constitutional amendment that effectively abolishes the president’s veto, a law amendment that was approved by Nicaragua’s Supreme Court but rejected by the Central Supreme Court of Central America. The President then refused for the rest of the year to approve all congressional measures based on the constitutional amendment.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym NI stands for the country of Nicaragua and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
In the early 21st century. corruption appeared to be one of the most serious conditioning of the political and economic life of the Central American country. The wave of delegitimization that swept the political class did not spare its leading exponents, first and foremost the President of the Republic A. Alemán Lacayo, elected in 1996. Several investigations conducted by A. Jarquín Anaya, Contralor General de la República (whose functions concerned the control of the state accounts), highlighted Alemán’s involvement in numerous episodes of corruption, both during the period in which he was mayor of the capital, Managua, both during his presidential term. But the president was protected by immunity and also enjoyed the support of a large sector of the Asamblea Nacional, in particular of a portion of the relative majority party, the Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (PLC), but also of the main opposition formation, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), with whom, in June 1999, the government had entered into a cooperation agreement to start negotiations on constitutional and electoral reforms. Under this agreement, in 2000 Alemán approved a series of reforms, including the reduction from 45 % to 35 %% of the share of votes necessary for the election of the president without having to resort to a ballot; in exchange for this amendment – which increased the chances of electing an FSLN candidate – Alemán was guaranteed a permanent seat in the Asamblea Nacional once his presidential term ended, a condition that would guarantee him immunity for life.
In the presidential elections of November 2001, E. Bolaños Geyer, vice president in office and candidate of the PLC, secured the majority of the votes (56.3 %), thus beating D. Ortega Saavedra of the FSLN (42.3 %), former president of the Nicaragua from 1985 to 1990. The legislative elections, held at the same time, marked the success of the PLC with 53.2 % of the votes (47 seats), followed by the FSLN (42.1 % and 43 seats) and, with considerable differences, by the Partido Conservador de Nicaragua (PCN, 2.1 % and 2 seats).
In March 2002 the reputation of Alemán, who had meanwhile become president of the Asamblea Nacional, was further deteriorated by accusations of fraud and embezzlement; the deep rift now created in the PLC, between the supporters of Aléman and those of the president in office, prevented that consensus could be reached on the waiver of Aléman’s immunity; this, however, was approved in December, after the former president was accused of laundering large sums of money from state-owned companies. Alemán was placed under house arrest and, in December 2003,sentenced to twenty years in prison (later converted to house arrest). The ruling was welcomed by the international community and interpreted as the promising start of a new course for the Nicaraguan judicial system. In March 2004, President Bolaños was also accused, along with Vice President J. Rizo Castellón, of embezzling public funds to finance his electoral campaign in 2001.
The municipal elections of November 2004 recorded the victory of the FSLN, which conquered 84 of the 151 municipalities of the Nicaragua, while the PLC secured 57 and Alianza por la República, a formation close to Bolaños formed in May of that year, only 6. In the aftermath of the polls, the Asamblea Nacional (dominated by the FSLN and the PLC faction close to Alemán) approved a series of constitutional reforms aimed at reducing the powers of the President of the Republic; among these, in particular, the possibility of rejecting the presidential veto on the basis of an absolute majority – and no more than two thirds – of the votes of the Asamblea Nacional. However, under the pressure of the United States and the Organization of American States, the FSLN and the PLC agreed to postpone both the entry into force of the aforementioned constitutional reforms and the request for the waiver of the immunity of President Bolaños until after the end of his mandate.
The presidential elections held in November 2006 decreed the victory of Ortega with 37.9 % of the votes, followed by E. Montealegre Rivas of the Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense (ALN) with 28.3 %, by J. Rizo Castellón of the PLC with the 27.1 % and by E. Jarquín Calderón of Movimiento renovador Sandinista (MRS) with 6.3 %; in the legislative elections, held simultaneously, the FSLN had 37.5 % of the votes, while the ALN 26.7 %, the PLC 26.4 % and the MRS 8.6 %.