Opposition struggles to stay in the game

Municipal election could be deathblow to opposition parties

(posted Oct. 11, 9:30 a.m.)- More than half of all Nicaraguans consider themselves Sandinistas and the other half of the population doesn’t want much to do with the opposition, according to a recent poll by M&R Consultants.

The latest poll, which surveyed 1,600 Nicaraguans between Sept. 15-23, found that 55.9% of the population openly sympathizes with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), while only 8.6% of the population identifies with an opposition party. Around 35% of the population claims to be independent, the poll showed.

A further breakdown of the 8.6% identifying as opposition is even more telling of FSLN’s success in moving Nicaragua toward a one-party system.

According to the poll, only 5.1% of the population identifies as members of the Liberal Constitutional Party, 3.2% admit to being followers of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), and a microscopic .1% of the population still thinks of itself as members of the Conservative Party, the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), or the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN).

No one surveyed identified as a member of APRE, making it all the more ludicrous that the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) claims the virtually non-existent minority party successfully presented valid candidates in 98% of municipalities. Critics claim APRE is essentially a political zombie that’s kept locked in the Sandinistas’ basement and brought out every election season to stumble through a lifeless campaign in Nicaragua’s undead electoral system.

If you can’t beat them, join them

Since Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007, his ruling Sandinista Front has seen a 19% increase in party support, according to M&R pollster Raúl Obregón.

Just in the past six months, the FSLN has picked up about six percentage points from citizens who formerly identified as independents.

The poll numbers also predict the opposition will receive a brutal spanking in next month’s municipal elections. Though 67% of population thinks there should be a total or partial substitution of the de facto and disreputable CSE, about 77% of the population says they’ll vote anyway. The Sandinistas are especially excited about the elections, with 95% saying they’ll go to the polls to vote for the presidential couple’s pick for candidate.

Voter abstention is, however, projected to be as high as 50% among independents, according to the survey. And of the 22% of independents who say they will definitely vote, less than 8% say they will vote for PLC or PLI.

The Sandinistas, meanwhile, have said they will win more than 90% of the 153 municipalities. And that might be a conservative estimate.

  • Ken

    I’m not too upset to see the right-wing parties wither, since IMHO they’re as bad on the other side as the FSLN is on the so-called left. However, I really wish that someone would organize a viable center-left party that respects the rule of law and isn’t riddled with corruption, like the MRS tried to become. Half the FSLN supporters and most of the independents would run to a party like this, I’m sure, and give it a whopping majority. Alas, reform inside the FSLN is probably impossible, since the First Couple now run it as their personal cottage industry.

  • Carlos

    The right wing parties have their HQ in Washington. They get money and support from there. This is known by the Nicaraguan and guess what…whats good for the Yankee imperialism in bad for the locals…They know that for decades. Ortega although not perfect, has his Latin-american vision of the world in which Uncle Sam is removed.

    Also the local politicians has nothing to offer, they talk about democracy, freedom, liberty bla bla bla but when they were in power the people were dying of hunger on the main roads and the corruption was worse. What is the benefit of democracy if you don’t have a job or a house or hospital and your politicians are living like Kings…..The time is up for the extreme right and the USA empire.