Murillo proposes bureaucratic beef-up

First Lady unveils plan to triple the size of city councils, but won’t explain who’s going to pay for it

Nicaragua’s gassy municipal governments are about to get a lot more bloated thanks to a peculiar proposal by First Lady Rosario Murillo to exponentially increase the size of city councils.

Murillo says her husband will send a legislative initiative to the Sandinista-dominated National Assembly—probably as an emergency measure, as is his wont—proposing that the number of local politicians in Nicaragua be increased three-fold, from 2,178 to 6,534.

Murillo says ballooning municipal government administrations will strengthen her vision of “direct democracy” and citizen participation, apparently by making everyone who wants to be a city councilman or a substitute selectman.

The bureaucratic beef-up will make municipal governments work better, according to Murillo’s plan. “This is a very important advance in the model of Citizen Power, the model of Direct Democracy,” she said.

Murillo explained that the fattening will be done proportionate to the population of each municipality. Municipalities with less than 30,000 people, which is 83% of the country, will increase their local governments from 5 to 16 city councilmen and supplemental salary-sucks.

Municipalities with 100,000-150,000 people (Jinotega, Estelí, Chinandega, Tipitapa, Ciudad Sandino, Granada, Puerto Cabezas and Siuna) will increase their decibel level to 35 local politicos, while León will swell to a rambunctious 50–member city council.

Managua, as usual, gets the ungovernability booby prize, by adding an additional 61 members to its already overstuffed city council of 19.

Murillo says the exponential increase in councilmen will not affect the municipal budget. But her official media reported that the increase in councilmen will not affect anyone’s salary.

It can’t be both. If there’s no budget increase, it would mean current councilmen will suddenly start getting a fraction of their old paycheck as their salaries get divided a dozen ways to pay for all the new political deadwood. On the other hand, if salaries are not affected, cash-strapped municipal governments would have to figure out how to pay 4,356 more salaries for hot-winded politicians to sit around a table and talk on their cell phones during city council meetings.

Either way, it’s hard to imagine how the proposed beef-up will help muncipalities run more efficiently.


  • Gerd

    And as the Party (or Family) normally wins elections, maybe 80% or more of the additional 4.355 people will be their own members who come “into bread and power”. It is a solution in first place to find income for the enormous amount of “followers” who want to be rewarded. And of course it strengthens the grip.

  • Ken

    Oh, heck, Rosario will pay the new city council folks out of FSLN slush funds, and in this way can increase the number without cutting salaries or burdening municipal budgets. And it sure smells like the agenda is to overwhelm local governments with FSLN loyalists. Ironically, as a matter of political philosophy, I’m not opposed to increasing political representation. That is a more direct democracy while retaining a republican form. Alas, I doubt this is Rosario’s objective.

    • El Macho Raton Rivense

      Interesting Ken. However, remember that the “FSLN slush funds” is really the government, ie: my taxes and/or chavez 1 billion dollar (over 5 yrs) in “aid”. Someone still has to pay for it, while Ortega has slashed education and health 5 yrs consecutively!!! so much for socialism.

  • El Macho Raton Rivense

    Also, interesting, if this law would go through (which it will), more like stuffed down our throats… is that nicaragua would be the most overepresented country in the western hemisphere per 100,000 inhabitantes. in other words, biggest government (after cuba) in the already 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere…… what we need is not a bigger government but a more effeciente one. quality not quantity!

    Also, a little known fact, the managua municipality or alcaldia.. used to only have a staff of 47-49 employees… in 2008 (after he robbed the municipal elections) one of the first things Ortega did is increase the staff of the alcaldia to over 100 employees….. and he also redrew local government lines in raas to give more representatives and control a his party in a liberal very anti-fsln dominated population…..a dictatorship is being consolidated here… do not kid yoursleves. He is doing exactly what Somoza did in the 50’s and 60’s…. ortega y somoza, son la misma cosa.

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