Political crisis Nicaragua: A Gallup poll shows that 65% of Nicaraguans would vote for any of the candidates imprisoned by Ortega | International

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A man shows a photograph of Daniel Ortega in a store with Sandinista Front propaganda, on October 7, in Managua.OSWALDO RIVAS (AFP)

The most recent poll by CID-Gallup, the firm with the greatest credibility in Nicaragua, revealed this Wednesday that if the elections in Nicaragua were today between Daniel Ortega and one of the seven candidates who have been arrested by the regime, the Sandinista president alone it would obtain 19% of the votes compared to 65% of the opposition, while another 16% of those consulted were undecided. The results expose a historic collapse of the official candidate and his formula, his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo: The presidential couple, who intend to perpetuate themselves in power in elections without competition, had an intention to vote down 28% last May .

The CID-Gallup figures, which have been released by the magazine Confidential, are published almost five months after the Ortega regime unleashed a fierce hunt against opposition leaders. Since then, the electoral scenario – which was considered key to resolving the crisis that the Central American country has dragged on since the 2018 protests, which were brutally repressed – was closed. With the capture of all the presidential candidates and two others in exile, the competition was liquidated and as of today, less than a month before the elections, the opposition candidates face trials for alleged crimes of “treason against the fatherland.” “Conspiracy” and “money laundering”.

Despite the fact that Ortega’s own narrative assures that the seven political prisoners are not presidential candidates and, instead, he labels them as “criminals who attack the country”, the CID-Gallup poll shows that the “opposition candidate” increased 26 points since May, when the firm’s last survey was released. In contrast, Ortega, who is seeking his fourth term and third consecutive reelection, lost 14 percentage points. Meanwhile, the number of undecided people dropped from 33% to 16%.

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Six of the seven imprisoned candidates showed greater sympathy than the presidential couple. According to CID-Gallup, they are: Juan Sebastián Chamorro, with 63% of favorable opinion, Cristiana Chamorro (62%), Miguel Mora (56%), Félix Maradiaga (56%), Medardo Mairena (53%) and Arturo Cruz ( 52%). In contrast, Daniel Ortega has 34% favorable opinion and -64% unfavorable and Rosario Murillo 37% in his favor and 60% unfavorable.

“Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are the public figures with the highest proportion of unfavorable opinions towards him. The opposite occurs in the case of Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Cristiana Chamorro. Also, most of the personalities evaluated resulted with positive balances, except Oscar Sobalvarro [aspirante presidencial] (44% of unfavorable opinion), Daniel Ortega (64% of unfavorable opinion) and Rosario Murillo (60% of unfavorable opinion) “, review Confidential.

The survey, carried out in September, also addressed the public perception of the repressive wave that the regime unleashed since the beginning of June, which has led to the arrest and trial of 37 new political prisoners, among which stand out opposition leaders, student leaders, peasants, journalists and businessmen. To the question “and how much to the imprisonment of a group of citizens who oppose the Ortega government? How much agree or disagree do you? “Very much in agreement” with the repressive measures.

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“Daniel Ortega ordered the incarceration in prisons or house for jail to a group of opponents of the Government and possible candidates for president. In this regard, there is no support from the majority of citizens for this measure and seven out of ten disagree with it ”, emphasizes the survey.

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Electoral apathy

Another striking result of the survey released by Confidential is that 56% of Nicaraguans responded “having no or little confidence” in the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), the questioned entity in charge of administering the elections. Since 2008, this institution has been subject to national and international complaints of electoral fraud at the municipal and national level to benefit Ortega’s authoritarian project. This lack of confidence in the electoral court, according to CID-Gallup, as well as the lack of real competition, combine to discourage citizen participation in the elections.

Last February, when there was supposed to be a competitive election, another CID-Gallup poll showed that 65% of those consulted wanted to vote despite distrust in the CSE. Most considered that “free elections” were important to “achieve the well-being of the family.” However, the current opinion survey affirms that, with the liquidation of the elections, 51% of those surveyed answered that it is “very probable” that they will vote; 31% said “little or not at all probable” and 17% said “somewhat probable”.

“Nicaraguan citizens have been characterized by their turnout to the polls. However, for the next elections in November, only half of the citizens said they were sure that they would go to the voting centers (51% very likely) and that they would use their right to vote next November. The rest, especially the supporters of opposition parties or those who do not have sympathy with one or another group, indicate doubts about whether to attend to cast the vote ”, highlights CID-Gallup.

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For its part, the Sandinista National Liberation Front also registers a collapse as a political organization. According to the survey, based on a universe of 1,200 respondents nationwide, only 8% of citizens said they support the Sandinista party. The majority of those consulted, 77%, answered that they did not sympathize with any of the political parties, considered “comparsas”, that attend the questioned election on November 7.

Ortega reaches out to entrepreneurs

Against this background, one of the most prominent Sandinista deputies, Walmaro Gutiérrez, argued that the government will propose a dialogue after the elections that the opposition classifies as a “farce” and invites the international community to ignore it.

“President Ortega has already said it, after the people reaffirm this next November 7 that they will continue to govern in this country … a great national dialogue is opened where everyone will fit,” said Gutiérrez, sanctioned by the United States. “Now if big capital wants to join us in this effort, it is welcome,” added the legislator, in a nod to the businessmen who were a key piece of the authoritarian and corporatist gear of the regime.

The sociologist Elvira Cuadra points out that “this announcement of dialogue is an attempt by the Ortega-Murillos to rebuild strategic alliances for the continuity of their political and family project”, after the damage caused after the prolonged socio-political crisis. For Cuadra, it is quite probable that a new consensus will be built based on “blackmail or extortion resources used by the government.”

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