Nicaragua 'an autocratic regime' after elections: EU
By Kelly Macnamara and Patrick Galey/AFP
Petroleumworld 11 08 2021
Nicaragua is now fully "an autocratic regime" after deeply deficient weekend elections handed Daniel Ortega a fourth straight presidential term, the European Union said on Monday.
The polls held Sunday "lack legitimacy" after Ortega "eliminated all credible electoral competition," said a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on behalf of the 27-nation bloc, adding that further sanctions were being considered.
Ortega and his vice president, his wife Rosario Murillo, won 75 percent of votes cast according to a partial count by national electoral authorities.
Seven would-be presidential challengers have been detained since June and opponents have been met with repression or forced into exile, giving Ortega, 75, an unimpeded run for his fourth straight mandate.
The United States dismissed the elections as a "sham" and Spain called it a "farce".
In his statement, Borrell said: "The integrity of the electoral process was crushed by the systematic incarceration, harassment and intimidation of presidential pre-candidates, opposition leaders, student and rural leaders, journalists, human rights defenders and business representatives."
Nicaraguans were "deprived of their freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Dissenting voices are silenced, scores of civil-society organisations have been outlawed, and state repression is unrelenting," he said.
Borrell, a former Spanish foreign minister, three weeks ago called Ortega's regime "one of the worst dictatorships in the world".
The EU in August imposed sanctions in August on Murillo and one of Ortega's sons, along with other officials, over the repression leading up to the elections.
Borrell said the targeted EU sanctions has "carefully avoided any measures that could potentially add to the hardship of the Nicaraguan people".
"In that spirit, we will consider all instruments at our disposal to take additional measures, including those that may go beyond individual restrictions," he said, hinting at broader sanctions against those supporting the regime.
By Agence France-Presse
afp.com 11 08 2021