NICARAGUA: New alliance boosts Sandinistas


The Sandinista Renewal Movement (MRS), which split from the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) six years ago, voted on August 28 to back FSLN candidate and ex-president Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua's presidential elections this November.

The MRS fielded its own slate of candidates in the 1996 elections, without much success. The decision to join the "national convergence" presents a united leftist front against the ruling Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) and offers Nicaraguans an alternative, said MRS leader Dora Maria Tellez.

In a note published on August 29 by the Managua daily El Nuevo Diario, MRS founder Sergio Ramirez, former vice-president under Ortega, said he did not "share or support" the decision to back the convergence; he said he has "withdrawn completely from all partisan political participation".

Ortega claims that a group of former contras who fought against his government in the 1980s are also considering joining his "convergence", according to the August 27 La Prensa (Managua).

The alliance comes as a new voter intention survey has, for the first time, shown PLC presidential candidate Bolanos just ahead of Ortega.

The poll, by the Costa Rican firm Borge y Asociados — which accurately predicted the results of the 1990 and 1996 elections — shows Bolanos with 38.6% to Ortega's 35.8%. The gap is within the poll's margin of error of three percentage points. The poll was commissioned by the PLC.

[From Weekly News Update of the Americas.]

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