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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MANAGUA2470
2006-11-08 20:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Managua
Cable title:  

VIEWS ON ORTEGA VICTORY

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PINR  KDEM  NU 
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VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2470/01 3122032
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 082032Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8151
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0806
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 002470 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: VIEWS ON ORTEGA VICTORY

Classified By: Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).




1. (C) SUMMARY: Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) and
Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) contacts are resigned to
Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN) presidential candidate
Daniel Ortega's victory and many blame his win on the Liberal
Constitutional Party's (PLC) disinformation campaign against
the ALN and candidate Eduardo Montealegre. The evening of
November 7, Montealegre publicly recognized Ortega's victory,
noting that the lowering of the threshold for victory from
45% to 35% had enabled Ortega to win with only 38% of the
vote - and assuring the public that his opposition will be
constructive, democratic, and intelligent. Meanwhile, PLC
candidate Rizo has cried fraud and asserted that the PLC will
come in close enough to Ortega to prompt a run off. FSLN
Foreign Affairs chief Samuel Santos has privately reiterated
the FSLN's desire to develop the best relations possible with
the U.S. government - noting that Secretary Rice's and the
National Security Council's comments regarding Ortega's
victory are "very helpful and encouraging." He also assured
us that the FSLN will not allow the PLC to manipulate the
electoral results. END SUMMARY.

NO WAY OUT OF ORTEGA'S VICTORY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



2. (C) The Nicaraguan government (GON) officials with whom
we have conversed over the past few days appear resigned to
Ortega's victory and largely fault the PLC for Ortega's
apparent victory:

--According to President Bolanos' senior political adviser
Frank Arana, "there is no way out of this - Daniel Ortega has
won." To Arana, the remaining concern is whether the ALN or
the PLC will come in second, noting that the PLC is hoping
that the rural vote, some of which has not come in, could
favor the PLC. While he does not believe the PLC will come
in second, he fears that the FSLN and PLC could "adjust" the
results to help the PLC obtain unearned Assembly seats.

--Vice-Foreign Minister Javier Williams Slate, who voted in
the North Atlantic Autonomous Zone (RAAN), fears the PLC and
FSLN will reaffirm their pact to the detriment of the ALN,
specifically in the assignment of Assembly seats. He also
believes that the CSE's stalling in releasing the results
suggests it could be manipulating them to the FSLN's and
PLC's benefit.

--Vice Minister of Government Deyanira Arguello said she is
depressed by the results and predicts that the Sandinista
government will set the country back years. According to
Arguello, a family friend desperately called her to report
that the FSLN has told him to leave the country or he and his
family will be killed.

--Foreign Minister Norman Caldera opined that the division of
Liberals permitted the Sandinista victory and that this

division must be remedied.

ALN VIEWS: "WE ARE THE SECOND POLITICAL FORCE"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



3. (C) In our conversations with ALN interlocutors, most are
disappointed over the election outcome but comforted by the
fact that the ALN is emerging as Nicaragua's second political
force, replacing the PLC.

--On the evening of November 7, Eduardo Montealegre met with
Ortega and publicly acknowledged the FSLN candidate's
victory, noting that the lowering of the threshold for
victory from 45% to 35% enabled Ortega to win with only 38%
of the vote. Montealegre assured the public that he will
create a constructive, democratic, and intelligent opposition
that will be firm and honest in its efforts to resolve the
country's problems and to change Nicaragua's political
culture. Montealegre promised to help Ortega's government
succeed and called for the PLC and MRS to unite with the ALN
to form a majority in the new National Assembly.

--Miguel Lopez Baldizon (seventh on the ALN's slate of
national level Assembly deputies and Alliance for the
Republic, APRE president) blamed the PLC and its smear
campaign against Montealegre for allowing a Sandinista
victory. He said the ALN is closely monitoring the
distribution of Assembly seats, adverting that the FSLN and
the PLC could collude to ensure that between the two parties
they maintain the supermajority in the legislative body.

--ALN vice-presidential candidate Fabricio Cajina
(Conservative Party) conceded that Ortega has won the
election, attributing his victory to the PLC's machinations
against Montealegre -- particularly the PLC's distribution of
a fake letter reporting that Montealegre had withdrawn his
candidacy and radio spots that claimed Montealegre had fled
the country.

--Delia Arellano (ninth on the ALN's slate of national level
Assembly deputies and affiliated with Camino Cristiano) was
disappointed with the outcome. She will not receive an
Assembly seat and faulted the PLC for Ortega's victory.

--For Contra leader/ALN supporter Enrique Zelaya (Doctor
Henry), who was in Matagalpa during the elections, "the PLC
did its part in the pact very well," referring to its smear
campaign against Montealegre that convinced some
anti-Sandinista voters, especially in rural areas, that Rizo
was best positioned to defeat Ortega.

MRS PREDICTS ORTEGA WILL HAVE A ROUGH TIME MANAGING THE
AMBITIONS OF HIS INNER CIRCLE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -



4. (C) MRS spokesperson Israel Lewites termed the election
results "unfortunate." Estimating that the FSLN stole 1-2
percentage points, he also conceded that "the FSLN
effectively channeled the discontent of the Nicaraguan
people." Lewites predicted that Ortega's government will
have a "rough time" because "holy trinity" members VP/Aleman
godfather Jaime Morales Carazo, Rosario Murillo, and Bayardo
Arce will jockey for power. (NOTE: On November 7, MRS
presidential candidate Edmundo Jarquin acknowledged that
Ortega had won the election. END NOTE.)

FSLN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHIEF CALLS FOR BEST RELATIONS POSSIBLE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



5. (C) FSLN Foreign Affairs chief Samuel Santos called
polcouns on November 8 to express the FSLN's desire to
develop the best relations possible with the U.S. government
- noting that Secretary Rice's and the National Security
Council's comments regarding Ortega's victory are "very
helpful and encouraging." He reiterated his belief that our
common goals to combat poverty and hunger will serve as a
starting point for a constructive relationship. Commenting
on the PLC's refusal to concede that Ortega has won the
election, he assured polcouns that the FSLN will not allow
the PLC to manipulate the electoral results.

FSLN DISSIDENT - THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



6. (C) FSLN dissident Alejandro Martinez Cuenca told us that
he did not consider Ortega a suitable candidate for today's
Nicaragua, but the people's aspirations were different and
that is what democracy is about. The fact that Ortega won
with a minority vote and the Assembly's composition is now
much more pluralistic than it has been in the past ten years
should be considered "real guarantees" that Ortega has little
political leverage to put Nicaragua and the business climate
at risk.

ORTEGA'S STEPDAUGHTER MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO COMBAT
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



7. (C) Ortega's stepdaughter Zoilamerica Narvaez called
polcouns the evening of November 7. While understandably
concerned over Ortega's victory, Narvaez told polcouns that
she is now more determined than ever to continue her case
before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and to
combat violence against women in Nicaragua. She will rely on
the support of the Nicaraguan Women's Network (an umbrella
women's rights organization) to carry forward.

PLC REFUTES FSLN VICTORY, CHALLENGES ALN FOR SECOND PLACE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - -- - - -



8. (SBU) Refuting Ortega's victory, the PLC candidate Rizo
and his supporters continue to cry fraud and assert that the
PLC will come in close enough to Ortega to prompt a run off.
(COMMENT: The Supreme Electoral Council's fifth release of
election tallies - covering over 91% of the vote - narrowed
the margin between Montealegre and Rizo to around 3%, beyond
Etica y Transparencia's (ET) quick count margin of error.
END COMMENT.)

CIVIL SOCIETY -- WE ARE NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



9. (C) Members of civil society organizations sympathetic
with Nicaragua's emerging democratic forces are generally
disappointed in Ortega's apparent victory, but are encouraged
that the ALN placed second and will be able to effect change
through its presence in the National Assembly. Movimiento
por Nicaragua executive director Pilar Martinez believes that
civil society will be needed "now more than ever," and that
it must lobby to change the ability for a presidential
candidate to win with only 35% of the valid votes cast.
Martinez told us that MpN will assess the entire cedula
issuance process to determine how much it affected Nicaraguan
citizens' right to vote. Also, the MpN will press Daniel
Ortega to sign the MpN's governance agreement, a document
that candidates Montealegre and Jarquin signed before the
election. In addition to advancing electoral reform, MpN
will also focus on social development, judicial reform, civic
participation, and governability, she said.



10. (C) Permanent Human Rights Commission (CPDH) executive
director Marcos Carmona believes "Ortega's victory is likely
thanks to Arnoldo Aleman and his arrogance." He ventured
that his and other NGOs will require more U.S. assistance
than ever, especially to defend human rights. (COMMENT: CPDH
recently helped Miskito Indians file before the
Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHCR) its claims of
human rights atrocities committed by Daniel Ortega and other
Sandinista leaders against the Miskito population on the
Atlantic Coast in the 1980s. CPDH members have received
threats from the Sandinistas and we expect that with an FSLN
victory, these threats could intensify.)

University Professors Fear PLC Foul Play
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



11. (SBU) According to a number of university professors in
Managua, the PLC is desperately trying to place second and is
likely "negotiating" with the FSLN to achieve this goal.

COMMENT
- - - -



12. (C) Only the PLC has not conceded Ortega's victory.
Montealegre's decision to trump the PLC by acknowledging
Ortega's win and his assurances that he will form a
constructive, democratic, and intelligent opposition helped
establish him as the leader of a new democratic opposition
that when legislating will place the better interests of
Nicaragua and its people ahead of the narrow, personal
interests of a small political elite.
TRIVELLI