This article is a post of The Economist. Here is an excerpt:
They were to be a “civic fiesta”, said Brenda Rocha, the boss of Nicaragua’s electoral council. Instead, Nicaragua’s municipal elections on November 6th were a farce. The ruling party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, took control of all 153 municipalities, after capturing the remaining 12 that was run by other parties. Nicaragua is now, in effect, a one-party state. Some would say one-family.
The election tops off years of creeping authoritarianism in the country, which is run by President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla, and Rosario Murillo, his wife and vice-president. Mr Ortega became president in 1979, after taking part in a revolution against the last of the Somozas, a kleptocratic dynasty with American backing which had ruled for 43 years. Mr Ortega lost an election in 1990 and stepped down. Since coming back to power in 2007, he has vowed not to lose it again.
On returning to office he cosied up to businessmen and won over the Roman Catholic church with one of the world’s strictest abortion bans. Between 2008 and 2015 Nicaragua bought $4.5bn of Venezuelan oil at discounted prices. The proceeds from selling it were funnelled into banks owned by the ruling party and lavished on Mr Ortega’s supporters. The economy grew on average by 5% a year between 2010 and 2017. The share of people living on less than $3.20 per day fell from 27% in 2005 to 10% by 2017. With potential critics silenced or bought off, Mr Ortega took over all branches of the state. The Supreme Court (widely considered to be controlled by Mr Ortega) abolished term limits and expelled the leader of the opposition and 16 of his supporters from Congress.
Here is the full article