MANAGUA – The Nicaraguan opposition alliance claimed that nearly 80 percent of the electorate did not participate in Sunday’s municipal elections.
The Broad Front for Democracy (FAD), a coalition of opposition groups, said in a statement that the low turnout represented a rejection of the corrupt electoral system in the country.
“Nicaraguans have united to reject an illegitimate process and to unmask the Ortega farce and with that same spirit we must remain united to achieve the society we aspire for,” said FAD, who were not allowed to take part in the 2016 presidential election, in which President Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), in power for 11 years, won his fourth, as well as his second consecutive, term in office.
Around 3.6 million Nicaraguans went to the polls Sunday to elect a mayor, vice-mayor and city councilors.
In the statement, FAD also pointed out several electoral frauds, including tampering with ballots, assigning voters to far-off polling stations to dissuade them from voting, yellow credentials to allow militants to vote at any table, and the use of two types of ink to allow multiple voting.
It also alleged security forces were given laptops to change voting figures or close down polling stations citing illegible or blank votes.
The Panorama Electoral consortium, comprising four civic organizations, also said in its second report that around 70 percent of Nicaraguans did not turn out to vote, although the president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) of Nicaragua, Roberto Rivas, claimed early Monday that voter turnout was substantial.
“The number of citizens who exercised their right to vote at 8:30 am (an hour and a half after the opening) stood at 380,000,” Rivas told reporters after casting his vote.
The figure represented exactly 10 percent of the active electoral roll – people who participated in the last two elections – of Nicaragua.
The Supreme Electoral Council is expected to release the first preliminary report on the local elections, including voter turnout and the results, later on Monday.