The Nicaraguan Electoral Council has excluded the country’s main opposition party from the upcoming presidential elections, in which it led a coalition against the re-election of President Daniel Ortega.
The council on Friday ordered “the revocation of the legal status of Citizens for Liberty,” according to a court ruling read out by council secretary Luis Luna to pro-government media.
According to the text, the president and legal representative of the Citizens’ Freedom Coalition (CXL) holds dual citizenship between the United States and Nicaragua “in flagrant violation of the law.”
The statement added that the opposition party is carrying out “verbal acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination.”
The right-wing Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) – the largest opposition party in Parliament and expressed its willingness to cooperate with the government – called for the removal of the CXL due to its alleged illegality, and asked the Council to do so. . “I declare all CXL activities void.”
The council accused the CXL chief of “using irregular procedures” and “acting outside the legal requirements and technical regulations of this type of political organization”.
“The regime’s actions demonstrate the horror of the civilian electoral process,” CXL said in a statement on social media.
On Wednesday, police placed Berenice Quezada, the deputy presidential candidate, under house arrest.
The move is the latest in an escalation of political repression in the Central American country, with critics accusing Ortega’s government of trying to prevent any major opposition from running for elections on November 7.
Ortega, who has been in power since 2007, is running for a fourth consecutive term with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, once again as his running mate.
Authorities have already arrested seven presidential candidates before the vote.
Ortega was a former leftist fighter who also ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 when the United States supported the armed opposition to his Sandinista movement.
Ortega later rebranded himself as a pro-business pragmatist, but Western countries and the opposition said he was turning increasingly into a dictator as he sought to consolidate his grip on power.
The news comes as the US has imposed visa restrictions on 50 relatives of Nicaraguan lawmakers, prosecutors and judges, following a series of actions against people close to Ortega.
The visa restriction also includes Ortega’s wife Murillo.
“The United States is committed to promoting broad accountability for anyone responsible for or benefiting from the Ortega Murillo regime’s attacks on democratic institutions,” the State Department said in a statement.
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