Nicaragua to announce regulations for election observers

Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) President Roberto Rivas announced that the CSE will publish the regulations for international and national election observation on August 16, after which the United Nations, European Union, Organization of American States and friendly countries will be able to send delegations to "accompany" the electoral process under the regulations and with the understanding that Nicaragua is a sovereign country. The presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for November 6. He said, "Their entrance is for accompaniment, but it is going to be under the rules established by the CSE and not by foreign imposition. We are going to listen to everything the United Nation says, what the OAS says, what the EU says, and what friendly countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama say." EU Ambassador Mendel Goldstein confirmed that the EU has been invited to observe. He said that EU aid for the next year is assured, including US$35.8 million for environmental protection. He said discussions will continue to build confidence in the electoral process.

Rivas refuted Roberto Courtney, executive director of the US-funded Ethics and Transparency, who claimed that Nicaragua’s electoral observation rules are not similar to Mexico’s "which are an example to Latin America." Rivas said that Mexico’s regulations require the deportation of any electoral observer who issues an opinion or judgment. He said that Nicaragua’s regulations would "probably" include that provision. "If they offer an opinion, they’ll be on the next plane out," he said. Rivas also emphasized that Nicaragua’s requirement of two forms of identity to receive a voter ID is the norm in other countries such as Guatemala and the Dominican Republic and less than the three forms required in Colombia. "We are not acting differently than other countries," he said.

In other election news, the period for candidate challenges ended last week and the CSE published the list of 550 candidates from five electoral alliances for the National Assembly and Central American Parliament. Only three candidates were removed due to challenges including one who was eliminated because she was a US citizen. (El Nuevo Diario, June 16, 17, 18, 19; La Prensa, June 14, 19)

Nicaragua Network, New Service