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Life in Nicaragua
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Nicaragua is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government, and there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.

Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Contents

ConstitutionEdit

In 1995, the executive and legislative branches negotiated a reform of the 1987 Sandinista constitution which gave extensive new powers and independence to the National Assembly, including permitting the Assembly to override a presidential veto with a simple majority vote and eliminating the president's ability to pocket veto a bill. Members of the unicameral National Assembly are elected to concurrent five-year terms.

In January 2014, the National Assembly approved changes to the constitution, removing presidential term limits. This allowed current President Daniel Ortega to run for a third successive term.[1]

Executive branchEdit

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Daniel Ortega FSLN 11 January 2016
Vice President Rosario Murillo FSLN 11 January 2016

The president and the vice president are elected for a single non-renewable five-year term. The president appoints the Council of Ministers.

Legislative branchEdit

The National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional) consists of 90 deputies elected from party lists drawn at the department and national level, plus the outgoing president and the runner-up in the presidential race, for a total of 92. In the 2011 elections, the Sandinista National Liberation Front won 63 seats (securing a majority), the Independent Liberal Party won 27 seats, and the Constitutionalist Liberal Party won 2 seats. This includes seats given to outgoing Vice President Jaime Morales Carazot and presidential runner-up Fabio Gadea Mantilla.

Outgoing Vice President Jaime Morales Carazot's seat would usually be given to the outgoing president. However, Danial Ortega was re-elected after the Constitution was modified to remove term limits.

Political parties and electionsEdit

e • d  Summary of the 6 November 2011 Nicaraguan presidential election results
Candidates – Parties Votes %
José Daniel Ortega SaavedraSandinista National Liberation Front 1,569,287 62.46
Fabio Gadea MantillaIndependent Liberal Party 778,889 31.00
José Arnoldo Alemán LacayoConstitutionalist Liberal Party 148,507 5.91
Édgar Enrique Quiñónez TucklerNicaraguan Liberal Alliance 10,003 0.40
Róger Antonio Guevara MenaAlliance for the Republic 5,898 0.23
Total votes 2,512,584 100.00
Source: CSE
e • d Summary of the 6 November 2011 Nicaraguan National Assembly election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) 1,583,199 60.85 63*
Independent Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Independiente) 822,023 31.59 27*
Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista) 167,639 6.44 2
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense ) 19,658 0.76
Alliance for the Republic (Alianza por la República) 9,317 0.36
Total votes 2,512,584 100.00 92
Source: CSE
* The runner-up in the presidential election (Fabio Gadea Mantilla of the PLI) and the outgoing president are special members of the National Assembly; as Ortega was reelected, the outgoing Vice President (Jaime Morales Carazo of the FSLN), who was not Ortega's running mate in this election (having been replaced by Omar Halleslevens, will take up his seat. (AFP)

Judicial branchEdit

The Supreme Court supervises the functioning of the still largely ineffective and overburdened judicial system. As part of the 1995 constitutional reforms, the independence of the Supreme Court was strengthened by increasing the number of magistrates from 9 to 12. In 2000, the number of Supreme Court Justices was increased to 16. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the political parties and elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly.

Electoral branchEdit

Led by a council of seven magistrates, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) is the co-equal branch of government responsible for organizing and conducting elections, plebiscites, and referendums. The magistrates and their alternates are elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly. Constitutional changes in 2000 expanded the number of CSE magistrates from five to seven and gave the PLC and the FSLN a freer hand to name party activists to the council, prompting allegations that both parties were politicizing electoral institutions and processes and excluding smaller political parties.

Human rightsEdit

Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the Nicaraguan constitution and vigorously exercised by its people.[citation needed] Diverse viewpoints are freely and openly discussed in the media and in academia.[citation needed] There is no state censorship in Nicaragua. Other constitutional freedoms include peaceful assembly and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement within the country, as well as foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation. The government also permits domestic and international human rights monitors to operate freely in Nicaragua.


The constitution prohibits discrimination based on birth, nationality, political belief, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, national origin, economic or social condition. Homosexuality has been legal since 2008.

All public and private sector workers, except the military and the police, are entitled to form and join unions of their own choosing, and they exercise this right extensively.[citation needed] Nearly half of Nicaragua's work force, including agricultural workers, is unionized.[citation needed] Workers have the right to strike. Collective bargaining is becoming more common in the private sector.[citation needed]

Administrative divisionsEdit

Foreign relationsEdit

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega said March 6, 2008 that the nation is breaking relations with Colombia "in solidarity with the Ecuadoran people", following the 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis.[2] The relations were restored soon after.

Political pressure groupsEdit

Some political pressure groups are:

  • National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions, including
    • Farm Workers Association or ATC
    • Health Workers Federation or FETSALUD
    • Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO
    • National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN
    • National Union of Employees or UNE
    • National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG
    • Sandinista Workers' Centre or CST
    • Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN
  • Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions, including
  • Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union
  • Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term". BBC. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  2. ^ CNN

External linksEdit