PLI needs to double check its math

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.

  • C.J.

    What’s the point of doing the math if you don’t trust the validity of the numbers. Who says the FSLN deserves 62 seats? Roberto Rivas?

  • Pedro Arauz

    The reason the LI did that (with the Directorate at the Assembly) was to isolate the co authors of the pact, the ignominious PLC from Aleman).
    The PLI is now receiving top sponsorship from the German’s true liberals and the Ross Lethinen-Rubio-Menendez Republicans in DC.
    Their strategy would be to isolate Ortega’s mockery of democracy more than any legislative process where they know it’s useless.
    Together with the coming Republican victory in the US plus the gradual if not accelerated demise of Chavez and not to mention a much deserved attack on Iran coupled with the disintegration of Syria’s Assad the so called “Payasada del Siglo 21” will finally crash in the garbage can where it belongs.

  • http://none Carolina Chamorro

    The opposition AKA PLI sounds Orwellian. If you repeat a lie it might become the truth! The majority of Nicaraguans believe Ortega won fairly. So basic maths in politics is not a science anymore …. PLI and opposition are letting their constituency down just by acting the way they are. All or nothing: The Devil only works in absolutes!

    • http://PEJVictoria jossjosephmageau

      hay un otra alternativad carolina .. seguro que el gordo esta casi rotonda y un poco dulce como el pan bimbo

      del canadiense del bus de managua al matagalpa

      hace 5 anos


  • Nick

    Expect more of the same from this opposition, combined with concerted wailings in the general direction of ears they think might be sympathetic to their plight.
    Which line will the new autocracy continue along? That remains to be seen. Favoritism for business cronies, under-the-table payments to Roberto Rivas make up a part of the line so far. Yet a populist move to take Rivas down from his heights of blatant opulence could go over well. It all remains to be seen and does not completely depend on Rosario’s crystal ball readings.
    Meanwhile, whatever opposition there is might do well to actually come up with some criticisms of substance and not just form, continuing to insist on the illegality of re-election. Laws of this nature get changed all the time. Ask Michael Blumberg of New York what he thinks. Winning a term is not an entitlement within a system of alterability of power. You actually have to stand for something and have proposals and more to move the country ahead.
    The train has left the station and the PLI opposition are still standing on the platform looking down the tracks from which it came. Meanwhile, the Alemán PLC is celebrating in the bar car on their way to dinner when they sit at the table in the dining car. (surprise! surprise!)

  • arturo

    Right on Nick. The problem isnt that there are not things to criticize the sandinista government for, its just that the opposition keeps critisizing things with no evidence. All the election critiques are baseless.
    This just furthers instability internationally for nica and leads nowhere.
    What the opposition should focus on is holding the sandinistas accountable for improving peoples lives in nicaragua, and by offering constructive criticism while offering ideas for how to better govern..and maybe coming up with a political platform that would improve the lives of people instead of further adding to the fire of fearmongering…

    • Miguel

      Arturo you hit the main point head on.
      Creation of “instability” literally by any and all means necessary. With the goal to undermine everything on the current government to create instability. This “create instability” is a tactic the USA has done over-and over in many countries, create instability by any fashion including using fear. Examples: keeping their own USA citizens numb and dumb with drug abuse, and keeping LaTam on their knees with the so-called “drug wars” which the USA perpetrates. There are many more examples including controlling the media and creating financial stability or infiltrating a peaceful protest with agent provacateurs. Lets hit this with the elephant in the room. These people who create this instability and fear mongering are also on these posts. Ultimately, they won’t succeed.

  • JR

    If you will make such simplistic argument about “arithmetic”, then perhaps you should get yours correct. In 3rd paragraph, you write “law of proportionality would have given them three seats”. Yet, on next paragraph, you say only 2 (when you show the math as 2.03). So before you blindly criticize the opposition based on an infantile point, do it correctly. It’s easy to criticize living in DC without seeing the mind-boggling vote rigging during the elections. Just wait for the EU report, due out next month. The level of voter intimidation was extraordinary and the violence by the Juventud Sandinista afterwards absurd and protected by the police, but of course not shown by the media since most are controlled by FSLN. Ballot box stuffing was wide spread, since even the if opposition fiscales were present at a JRV, they had no say on any irregularity conducted by the FSLN. I am not agreeing with PLI decision to walk out, but also why will they participate in the assembly when the FSLN will clearly do what it wants? If you were the opposition, would you participate and give any hint of credibility to this fraudulent process?