Nicaragua’s government takes over five opposition-held cities

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MEXICO CITY – Four months ahead of scheduled municipal elections, Nicaraguan riot police have occupied the town halls of five municipalities controlled by an opposition party.

Kitty Monterrey, president of Citizens for Freedom, a political party banned by the Nicaraguan government ahead of last year’s presidential election, confirmed police occupations in San Sebastian de Yali, El Cua, Murra and El Almendro.

Oscar Gadea Tinoco, mayor of Pantasma and member of Citizens for Freedom, also said police occupied his town on Saturday.

“All mayorships legitimately elected under the Citizens for Freedom flag have been taken by the regime,” Monterrey said via Twitter on Monday. She urged President Daniel Ortega to respect the well-being of removed officials and mayors.

Citizens for Freedom won each of these town halls in the 2017 election. But ahead of last year’s presidential election, President Daniel Ortega showed little tolerance for the opposition. The authorities jailed seven leading opposition figures who could have challenged Ortega for the presidency.

Instead, Ortega drove through a fourth straight election dismissed as a farce by the United States and the European Union, and the opposition figures remain in custody.

The Nicaraguan government had not commented on the takeovers.

Noel Moreno, the deposed mayor of San Sebastian de Yali in northwestern Nicaragua, said about 50 heavily armed riot police and members of Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front broke into the city’s offices early Monday.

“The seat remains under riot police control,” Moreno said, adding that he was not there when police arrived. He wasn’t sure if the city staff had stayed in the house or had been relocated.

He said members of the Sandinista City Council had “already appointed themselves mayor and vice-mayor” and raised the Sandinista flag. The takeovers appeared to have been similar in the other communities.

In Pantasma, Gadea Tinoco said that Sandinista councilwoman Carmen Obando was appointed to succeed him. The argument was that Citizens for Freedom is no longer a recognized organization because the Nicaraguan electoral authorities stripped it of its status last year.

Following the cancellation of the party, Monterrey was also stripped of Nicaraguan citizenship and accused of being in the country illegally. She fled into exile in Costa Rica.

Of Nicaragua’s 153 communities, Ortega’s Sandinista Front now controls 140. Two allied parties control the other 13.

The opposition organization Open Ballot Boxes, a network for monitoring citizens’ elections, denounced “the lack of democratic conditions”. They demanded that the welfare of community employees be respected.

“They don’t want anyone to vote in these elections,” Moreno said.

In a statement, Monterrey called the takeovers “a very serious attack on the will of the people and on municipal autonomy”.

“With these actions, the regime confirms that it has no interest in rehabilitating the electoral process or even trying to maintain any semblance of legality in the next local elections,” she said. Nicaragua’s government takes over five opposition-held cities

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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