MANAGUA – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was inaugurated on Tuesday for his fourth five-year term in office – his third consecutive mandate – this time with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, an unprecedented event in Nicaraguan history.
The husband and wife team took the oath of office in the presence of allies and fellow leaders Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia in a ceremony held on Managua’s Plaza de la Revolucion.
Also present at the inauguration were Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Honduran leader Juan Orlando Hernandez.
Ortega, 71, was sworn in before – among others – Spain’s secretary of state for international cooperation and Ibero-America, Fernando Garcia-Casas, and the No. 3 North Korean official, Choe Ryong-hae.
The Ortega-Murillo ticket won the Nov. 6 election handily amid harsh criticism over the legal elimination of the main opposition group from the contest, the prohibition of election observers and an unprecedented level of absenteeism, which was not acknowledged by the Supreme Electoral Council.
Ortega was reelected with 71.5 percent of the votes and his party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN, obtained 70 of the 90 legislative seats that were in contention, a sufficient number to be able to amend the Constitution.
The former revolutionary initially headed the country from 1979-1990, first as coordinator of the National Reconstruction Government Junta and during the last five years of that period as head of state. He returned to power in January 2007 and is now in his third consecutive term.