Police in Nicaragua have arrested a seventh presidential candidate ahead of the November 7 election. Noel Vidaurre was placed under house arrest and charged with ‘undermining the sovereignty’ of the country.
The centre-right Vidaurre says he is now one of the latest victims of the wave of arrests in which a total of 28 opposition members have been arrested since the beginning of last month. They are charged with undermining the country’s “sovereignty and independence” on a controversial bill that critics say is designed to silence President Daniel Ortega’s opponents.
Critical journalists and opposition supporters also have little room for maneuver. Several people were killed and dozens injured when demonstrations were brought down by security services.
One of Ortega’s arrested opponents, Cristiana Chamorro, seemed to have a good chance of winning the election. Without serious opponents, 75-year-old Ortega is expected to start his fourth term since 2007 after the ballot. He was first elected president of the country in 1984, which he wanted to reform on the Cuban model. In 1990, however, the Nicaraguans chose a different candidate. It wasn’t until 2007 that Ortega was re-elected president.
The arrest of opposition members has attracted international criticism. The US Secretary of State under former President Donald Trump previously called Ortega “a dictator.”
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