- Title: Daniel Ortega wins third term as Nicaraguan president
- Date: 7th November 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF SANDINISTA SUPPORTERS CELEBRATING ORTEGA'S WIN
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2016 08:16
- Keywords: Daniel Ortega elections presidential election third term results
- Location: MANAGUA, NICARAGUA
- City: MANAGUA, NICARAGUA
- Country: Nicaragua
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00357G1BGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega powered toward his third consecutive term as president of the poor Central American country on Sunday (November 6), as voters cheered years of solid growth and overlooked criticisms he is installing a family dynasty.
By fusing his militant past with a more business-friendly approach, Ortega stands in stark contrast to many once-dominant Latin American leaders, whose popularity has plummeted in recent years after failing to guarantee gains in economic prosperity.
The 70-year-old former guerilla fighter, who is running with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, had 71.3 percent of votes, with 21.3 percent of polling stations counted, the electoral board said.
The announcement sent hundreds of his leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party supporters out into the streets of Managua to celebrate.
Ortega's main opponent, the center-right Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) candidate Maximino Rodriguez, was a distant second with 16.4 percent of votes, the board said.
"I'm celebrating, happy for the Sandinista Front's win. May the commander be in power forever!" said Geysell Harana, as motorcycle riders wove through Managua's Plaza de las Victorias waving red and black Sandinista flags.
Girls in sequined mini-skirts danced to Latino pop music on a stage in the square in celebration.
Emerging as leader of the Sandinista movement that toppled dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, Ortega led the country during the 1980s, when a civil war against U.S.-backed Contra rebels killed some 30,000 people and unleashed an economic crisis.
After losing the 1990 election, Ortega threatened to fade into history, but the former fighter managed to orchestrate a return to power when he became president in the 2006 election.
In 2014, his Sandinistas pushed constitutional changes through Congress that ended presidential term limits. Since then, opponents have accused Ortega of trying to set up a "family dictatorship" after he appointed relatives to key posts.
Despite the United States and international organizations having voiced concern about Ortega's stranglehold on power, the World Bank acknowledges that poverty has fallen almost 13 percentage points under his rule.
A substantial part of those gains have been funded by Venezuelan petrodollars that have underpinned social programs, helped private business and slashed energy costs.
Ortega has also forged alliances with the business sector, helping Nicaragua to achieve average growth rates of 5 percent in the past five years.
Despite some ups and downs, Ortega and U.S. President Barack Obama have maintained a relatively cordial relationship, demonstrating Ortega's shift from a leftist firebrand to a diplomat who maintains ties with a Cold War enemy.
But democracy remains a touchy subject.
A U.S. bill known as the Nica Act seeks to condition financial assistance to Nicaragua on improvements in democracy, human rights and battling anti-corruption, leading Ortega's government to decry "interference" from Washington in September.
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