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Nicaragua set to swear in Daniel Ortega as president

Category: Headlines

Published: 10th Jan 2012 10:48:37

Daniel Ortega is set to be sworn in for a controversial third term as Nicaragua's president following his landslide victory in November's polls.

The former Sandinista guerrilla leader has promised "no dramatic changes" during his next five years in office.

Mr Ortega's critics accuse him of seeking to concentrate power in his hands and stay in office indefinitely.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are among the leaders attending the inauguration.

Mr Ortega won the election with more than 60% of the vote, while his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won a big enough congressional majority to enact constitutional changes.

Sandinista congressional leader Edwin Castro has denied that there any plans to reform the constitution.

Nicaragua's First Lady and presidential spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Mr Ortega was "ready" to lead one of the "best governments" in Nicaragua's history.

But the inauguration comes amid protests by opposition groups who say Mr Ortega's election win was fraudulent and unconstitutional.

He was allowed to run after the Sandinista-controlled Supreme Court overturned a ban on consecutive terms.

Several thousand people are expected to attend the swearing in ceremony in Managua, due to begin at 16:00 local time (22:00 GMT).

Members of the second biggest party, the Independent Liberals, are boycotting the event.

Mr Ortega, 66, previously ruled Nicaragua for 11 years after leading the Sandinista revolution that overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

He returned to power in elections in 2006 after three failed attempts.

Since then, the economy has grown steadily, although Nicaragua remains one of the poorest countries in the region.

Mr Ortega himself has courted the business sector. He has also introduced social programmes to help the country's poor, with help put at some $500m (£323m) a year from Venezuela.

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BBC News, 2012. Nicaragua set to swear in Daniel Ortega as president [Online] (Updated 10th Jan 2012)
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