Nicaragua opposition names presidential candidate ahead of November polls.

Written by on July 29, 2021

Nicaragua’s main opposition alliance has named a former right-wing fighter and a beauty queen as its candidates to take on President Daniel Ortega in November’s general election.

68-year-old Oscar Sobalvarro, said he did not expect the nomination but insisted that he would “take on the baton” from those detained, a move he said “is neither easy nor free from risks”.

His running mate is 27-year-old Berenice Quezada, the 2017 Miss Nicaragua who has no known history of political activism.

Rights groups and international observers have accused Ortega of presiding over a crackdown on potential opponents in advance of the November vote, during which the 75-year-old will be seeking a fourth consecutive term.

The United States has imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on officials affiliated with Ortega’s government, while the Organization of American States (OAS) has urged him to release the detainees and ensure that free and fair elections can be held.

The longtime president has justified the arrests by saying his administration was prosecuting criminals who were plotting a coup against him. Most have been arrested under a controversial law approved by parliament in December that was widely criticised as a means of freezing out challengers and silencing opponents.

In a speech at a public event on Sunday, Ortega slammed the country’s opposition figures, saying they were part of a “Yankee policy” and that the opposition “has no shame”.

Credit: Aljazeera

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