Nicaragua 2.0, a youth activist movement that endeavors to change the country’s political culture, is calling on its 5,400 followers on Facebook to cast their ballots as a “protest vote” in the Nov. 4 municipal elections.
The activist group says the “protest vote”—invalidating the ballot with a protest message—is “a democratic practice of citizen mobilization and rejection of authoritarianism, political impositions, illegality and corruption.”
In a communiqué published by the group on Facebook last Friday, Nicaragua 2.0 says the country’s current electoral system “does not offer adequate guarantees for free elections.”
Nicaragua 2.0—a name that references the newer generation of Internet technology that allows for user-submitted content—argues that Nicaragua needs new leaders and a new political culture. Reelecting the same tired candidates in an busted electoral system is not the way to move toward the change that the country requires, the group maintains.
The group, which claims to stand for rule of law and non-violent protest, notes that Nicaragua’s scandalous Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) has yet to answer for the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the previous two elections it fumbled through. In addition, the CSE has yet to publish its full and final vote count from the 2008 and 2011 elections, in violation of Nicaragua’s Electoral Code.
“We are still waiting for the results of each voting station from both those electoral processes,” the group says.
Nicaragua 2.0 also blasts the role of the so-called opposition parties, whom they accuse of demobilizing the population and deterring any type of popular protest movement against the government.
The activist group argues that the reelection bids by most mayoral candidates—prohibited by Article 147 of Nicaragua’s Constitution—is just an attempt to “legitimize the illegal reelection of Daniel Ortega” last year.
Yet despite the tarnished process, it would be an mistake to not participate on election day, Nicaragua 2.0 argues.
“The right to vote is a gain that cost the lives of thousands of Nicaraguans who fought to establish a democratic system in our country,” the group’s communiqué reads. “The citizenry should not resign itself to the prevailing illegalities and political cynicism, nor should the citizenry voluntarily cede the right to vote by simply abstaining.”
The only solution, Nicaragua 2.0 concludes, is the protest vote.