(posted Jan. 31, 6:15 p.m.)-The Organization of American States’ new representative to Nicaragua today confirmed that the President Daniel Ortega won the Nov. 6 presidential elections with 59.8% of the vote, according to the hemispheric body’s parallel fast count on election day.
The official vote count by the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) gave Ortega victory with 62%.
“Yes there was a winner, President Daniel Ortega, according to the OAS’s fast count,” said OAS country representative Ricardo Seitenfus, of Brazil.
Seitenfus’ confirmation of the OAS’ fast-count results effectively deflates opposition candidate Fabio Gadea’s claim to victory, although that argument had already pretty much fallen apart on its own.
Seitenfus also repeated the OAS’ concerns about the partisan and ineffective nature of Nicaragua’s Sandinista-controlled Supreme Electoral Council (CSE)
“Lamentably, the entire electoral system of this country is partisan-controlled,” he said. “An electoral system cannot be both judge and jury.”
Seitenfus also criticized the CSE’s ham-fisted management of state identification IDs.
Along Nicaragua’s traditional partisan divide, the opposition media reported on Seitenfus’ comments without mentioning the parallel vote count, while the Sandinista media reported only on the fast-count results, while ignoring all criticism of their disgraced electoral system.
Meanwhile, international reaction to Ortega’s reelection is still developing amid growing call to action in Washington, D.C..
The “Nicaragua issue” will again be put to test on Capitol Hill next Tuesday, Feb. 7, during the congressional confirmation hearing on Ambassador Phyllis Powers’ appointment to Nicaragua.
The United States has been without an ambassador in Managua since last July.