Nicaragua is less than a month away from what the general secretary of the OAS called “the worst possible elections” and a group of opposition organizations called this week on the international community to ignore the legitimacy of the process and its results because “they impede the people Nicaraguan to democratically elect their next authorities ”.
The Nicaraguan opposition, which has been characterized by rivalries between different groups, this Thursday was united through its most recognized organizations, to express the “repudiation and ignorance” of the general elections in November that will be held in a process that they consider “illegitimate and null”.
At the same time, a campaign has started for citizens to express their protest by staying at home on voting day. Before the international community ignores the legitimacy of a re-election of Daniel Ortega under these conditions, citizens must first do so, says Jesús Téfel, a member of the opposition organization Unidad Azul y Blanco (UNAB).
“The issue of legitimacy starts from home. Nicaraguans have to recognize that the process is not legitimate, by not participating and reporting, but then the entire international advocacy management begins so that more and more governments are adding to the ignorance of the regime, ”he says.
For next November 7, Nicaraguans are expected to choose the president and vice president who will govern the country for the next five years, as well as 92 deputies of the National Assembly. However, the Nicaraguan opposition has denounced that there are no conditions for free elections because the Daniel Ortega regime last May approved electoral reforms that restrict citizen participation, created an electoral tribunal composed only of people loyal to his regime, eliminated the electoral observation, outlawed the two opposition parties and imprisoned the seven main opposition candidates.
“We are facing a process of total exclusion, through de facto means, which does not enjoy legitimacy according to all international standards and according to the same legitimacy that the people of Nicaragua would expect,” says Téfel.
During the last weeks, according to Jesús Téfel, the Nicaraguan opposition debated between which was the best method for citizens who were left without electoral options to express their protest against the process that they consider illegitimate: “the null vote” or the “abstention”.
“The null vote, going to the polls and annulling the vote in order to show that they are not in favor of Ortega, that they do not believe in the process and that there is no credible candidate. And the other option is not to attend the voting process ”.
Abstention was imposed in the debate. “This time almost all the groups agree,” says the Nicaraguan opponent that he is in exile. “The debate occupied the spaces for dialogue in the previous weeks, but today there is a fairly general consensus. None of the opposition organizations is promoting some kind of participation in this process, although there will be some that are promoting more actively than others not participating, staying at home.
“The pros of a null vote is that you can organize a mobilization of the citizenry and actively participate in disobedience, demonstrate the rejection of the regime. Against this is that, since there is no international observation, because there is no control, because there is nothing to guarantee.
How that invalid vote will be counted, it opens up all the possibilities for Ortega to be able to accredit the invalid vote in his favor without No one can deny it and use the large queues of citizen participation as evidence to say that the people attended the polls to legitimize the process, ”he explains.
“In the case of abstention, staying at home is a safer action, which at the outset shows that they do not agree with anything in the process, to the point that they did not even bother to participate because they believe it is a farce. , a mockery, a mere procedure tailored to the dictatorship and that is why it is sending a message that does not recognize either the process or its results ”, he adds.
Seven political parties and alliances will participate in the November elections, including the ruling Sandinista Front, which proposes the re-election of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, and a group of small parties that have been allies or collaborators of Ortega.
In Nicaragua, they popularly call this type of party “stilt walkers”, because they participate in elections, with no chance of winning, to simulate competition in exchange for budget or councils. Guillermo Osorno is the candidate of Camino Cristiano, a party that this time participates alone, despite the fact that in the last two general elections he has been an ally of the Sandinista Front.
Osorno criticized, in an interview with the IP Nicaragua portal, those who promote abstention. “Anyone who opposes the vote won at the polls is siding with the Sandinista Front. If you won’t vote for me, vote for the others. If the Sandinista Front has hurt and bothers, then don’t vote for them, but vote for the other options, but don’t abstain from voting if we really want a free and transformed Nicaragua, ”he said.
Jesús Téfel considers that “it will not be an easy task” to achieve the illegitimacy of the re-election of Daniel Ortega. “Although there is a consensus that the process is not legitimate, it does not necessarily mean that the governments are going to rush to cut off relations with Ortega.
International diplomacy does not work like that, but it will be a job of convincing, of accumulating allies so that Ortega is declared illegitimate ”. For Téfel it is vital that the opposition is united as it happened this week when the main opposition organizations of Nicaragua appeared at a conference in San José, Costa Rica, forming a bloc that they called “Nicaraguan Democratic Opposition” to express their rejection of “the farce electoral ”of November.
“How is the international community going to consider Ortega illegitimate if there is not an alternative?” He wonders. “Governments, although they condemn dictatorships, human rights violators, those who do not respect democracy, are more afraid of generating power vacuums and generating chaos in the countries.
The opposition has the responsibility of forming a counterpart to the dictatorship so that the international community has an interlocutor and the certainty that a power vacuum would not be generated if the possibility of a transition opens up ”.