NICARAGUA
Officially: República de Nicaragua.
Seat of government: Managua.
Status: Questionably democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly by plurality. The legislature (Asamblea Nacional) is elected in the departamentos or at large, both by party-list proportional representation.
Chief governing party: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional.
Head of government: Daniel Ortega Saavedra, FSLN, president.
Opposition legislative parties: Partido Liberal Independiente; Partido Liberal Constitucionalista.
Assessment: Ortega, former head of the Sandinista régime (1979-90), was elected in 2006 with a plurality. His party had only a plurality in the legislature as well. The Sandinistas overthrew the rightist régime of the Somoza family, and then ruled undemocratically themselves. Back in office, Ortega unsurprisingly aligned himself with Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. Local elections during his first term were viewed as fraudulent. A disputed election in 2011 saw Ortega officially reelected with a large majority; the FSLN also claimed a large majority in the legislative assembly. The PLC had been a major party, but split into factions; the PLI is now the main opposition.
FH: 4-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.07 (78), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2014 October 23.
 

O.T. FORD