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Nicaragua opposition unites to contest legality of President Ortega's candidacy

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The citizen challenge to the president’s candidacy also accuses the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), headed by Ortega’s family friend Roberto Rivas (whose term as electoral president expired more than six months ago yet remains in office under a presidential decree) of being “illegally and illegitimately constituted.” If the CSE does not reject Ortega’s candidacy, the citizen appeal reads, the electoral authorities “will become accomplices and coauthors in the violation of the Constitution, in addition to being usurpers.”

The opposition Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), Liberal Independent Party (PLI), Alliance for the Republic (APRE), and Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) have all said they will file similar motions in the coming days, meaning all opposition parties will be participating in the elections under protest.

In addition to the legal motions against Ortega's candidacy, a group of civil society organizations calling themselves the Citizen's Union for Democracy have announced a nationwide march on Managua April 2 – the first massive opposition mobilization since 2009.

Orteguistas close ranks

Ortega’s supporters, meanwhile, have started to mobilize in different parts of the country to defend their caudillo as “the only option” fit to lead Nicaragua, the second-poorest nation in the hemisphere. The Sandinistas argue that defending Ortega’s candidacy is an issue of “national sovereignty” and that opposition, manipulated by outside forces, is trying to trick voters with “lies.”

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