On November 9th, Nicaragua held municipal elections in 146 municipalities. It seems these elections have somewhat gone under the radar, but there is a growing conflict over the results of those elections. The Sandinistas have claimed to have won in roughly 100 of those municipalities, although coming up with an exact number is still difficult at this point because official results have still not been released. On Tuesday, there were violent clashes between Sandinistas (FSLN) and Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) supporters in Managua, and last week there were a number of other conflicts between Sandinistas and Liberals in Managua, León, and Matagalpa.
There were international observers at the Nov. 9 municipal elections from respected groups of officials from Latin American electoral councils. The three teams of high level experts reported seeing no instances of fraud.
The opposition should pursue its claims of fraud through the available legal mechanisms rather than exclusively in the media.
The integrity of Nicaragua's elections is insured, just as it is in the United States, by the presence in each polling place of each party's poll watchers who also witness the vote count.
US favored Managua mayoral candidate, Eduardo Montealegre, was not favored to win. An independent and respected polling company-CID Gallop-put him five points behind the FSLN candidate, former world boxing champ, Alexis Argüello, a week before the election.
While, sadly, there has been post-election violence on all sides, the right wing Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) initiated it, injuring several people including a Sandinista radio reporter who was stabbed and whose car was torched.
The Supreme Electoral Council is an independent branch of government. It has three Sandinista representatives, three PLC representatives, and the chairman is affiliated with no political party. It certified the results of the 2008 municipal elections.
Montealegre presented discrepancies in only two precincts out of 2,200 in Managua to support his claim of fraud.
An official recount in Managua confirmed the victory of the FSLN candidate Arguello.