Any knowledgeable political analyst that observed what went down in the inaugural session of the Nicaraguan National Assembly would know better than to say that the opposition (PLI) has “good intentions.”
However, this is the line that is getting repeated in the opposition media despite the fact that the PLI walked out of the legislative session in what seems more like an irrational temper tantrum than a levelheaded protest.
If any PLI party officials had a basic understanding of arithmetic, they would not have argued that the law of proportionality would have given them three seats in the national assembly directorate.
Let’s do the math: if we divide the 7 directorate seats by the total number of representatives, 90, you get 0.078. Now, if you multiply this number (0.078) by the 62 FSLN representatives in the national assembly, the result is 4.8. If we do the same for the 26 PLI representatives, you get 2.03. These results mean that if we were to conservatively interpret the law of proportionality, then the FSLN would clearly receive 5 of the 7 directorate seats (4.8 is closer to 5 than 2.03 is to 3, if you know how to round numbers).
Just to make it easy for anyone that feels like adding Fabio Gadea to the PLI representative count above, the result is still in the FSLN’s favor. And if you do the percentages by dividing the number of party representatives by the total number of representatives, you would actually get a number less favorable to the PLI.
From the beginning, the FSLN had expressed their intention to create a pluralistic directorate. This meant, in terms of proportionality, that the FSLN would have forfeited the 5th directorate seat they were entitled to and offer that to a representative of the PLC party – which had only acquired two seats in the national assembly. The result would have been a directorate with 4 FSLN representatives, 2 PLI representatives, and 1 PLC representative. Indeed, this would have been a pluralistic directorate, and the FSLN had the “good intentions” to make this the reality.
Yet, the PLI, counter to whatever they want to believe constitutes “compromise”, was not satisfied with this, and demanded that they be given three seats. Instead of compromising on a pluralistic directorate, the PLI took their ball and went home.
The reason for the PLI party’s apparent dissatisfaction was plain and simple. They did not get their way. And by boycotting the legislative assembly they can now claim that they have been the victims of a great injustice.
Counter to the claims of “good intentions,” what could well be argued is that the PLI delegates completely disregarded their responsibility to represent their constituents and have a presence on the national assembly directorate.
Daniel McCurdy is a Nicaraguan-American who grew up in Managua and studied Economics and Finance at Guilford College in North Carolina. He lives in Washington, D.C.