Parliamentary Chamber: Asamblea Nacional


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  Asamblea Nacional

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  4 November 2001

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Nicaraguans went to the polls on 4 November 2001 to elect a new President of the Republic and the 90 directly elected members of the National Assembly.

During the electoral campaign, former President Daniel Ortega and leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) vowed to follow market-based policies and to seek good relations with the United States. However some U.S. officials expressed concern about his party's past ties with terrorists and its past socialist policies. The candidate of the Liberal and Constitutional Party for President, Mr Enrique Bolaños promised to continue the free-market policies of outgoing President Arnoldo Alemán, but with a greater emphasis on fighting the corruption that had tarnished the outgoing government.

Under a Liberal-Sandinista agreement reforming the Constitution, third parties were severely restricted and key posts divided up on a partisan basis. The pact also provided that outgoing President Alemán would become a member of the National Assembly, with legal immunity from prosecution.

The election day was calm as soldiers and police were deployed on the streets of the capital Managua. The polls were scheduled to close at 6 pm but remained open long after that to accommodate long lines of people who were obliged to queue up for as long as seven hours. Mr Ortega alleged that irregularities occurred during these extra hours which unfairly increased the Liberal and Constitutional Party vote. He also questioned the turnout recorded by the electoral council, which was much higher than the usual. Nevertheless, the head of the election monitoring team sent by the Organisation of American States declared that there was no reason to question the results.

When the results were known, Mr Daniel Ortega conceded defeat in the presidential elections to the Liberal and constitutionalist party (PLC) candidate, in his third consecutive election loss. In parliamentary elections, the PLC won 53.2% of the vote, 47 seats, while the FSLN took 42.1% and 43 seats.

On 23 November 2001, three of the seven magistrates on the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), all Sandinistas, refused to recognise the validity of the legislative election results, as the FSLN claimed to have been under-represented. On 5 December 2001, Roberto Rivas, the president of the Council threatened to replace the three FSLN members as the CSE had been unable to operate since their departure.

On 12 December 2001, Daniel Ortega announced that his FSLN Members of Parliament would after all take their seats in Congress on 9 January 2002. This decision finally resolved the impasse over the composition of the new Parliament. The constitutional wing of the Supreme Court had ruled against a complaint by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) over electoral irregularities.

On 4 December 2001 Mr Enrique Bolaños was officially proclaimed President-elect and subsequently took office on 10 January 2002.

Round no 1 (4 November 2001): Elections results  
Voters 2 256 770 (75 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 89 256
Valid votes 2 167 514

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Liberal and Constitutional Party (PLC) 53.20
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) 42.10
Conservative Party (PC) 2.10

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Liberal and Constitutional Party (PLC) 47
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) 43
Conservative Party (PC) 2

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 73
Women: 19
Percent of women: 20.65

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Copyright © 2001 Inter-Parliamentary Union