Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party has swept mayoral elections, winning more than three-quarters of the votes cast throughout the Central American country Sunday.
The political opposition has alleged fraud, claiming that many ballots were incomplete and confusing and that some Sandinista supporters were allowed to vote twice.
“We do not believe in the results given by a completely discredited Electoral Council, with no credibility and that plays on the side of (the Sandinistas), and that allows dead people to be listed as candidates,” Congressman Eliseo Nunez of the opposition Independent Liberal Party told the Associated Press.
"We participated because the people should have a choice. But we know that everything was rigged and the Electoral Council did what [President] Daniel Ortega ordered."
The left-wing Sandinistas won 134 out of 153 mayoral competitions, including the capital Managua, which the party also won in the 2008 elections, when it gained 109 mayoral posts.
The U.S. State Department also questioned the lack of transparency of the elections, saying that they “failed to demonstrate a degree of transparency that would assure Nicaraguans and the international community that the process faithfully reflected the will of the Nicaraguan people,” the AP reported.
Following the 2008 elections, the U.S. suspended roughly $64 million in foreign aid over allegations of electoral fraud.
Ortega was re-elected in 2011 after the Sandinista-controlled Supreme Court abolished a ban on consecutive terms. He is part of a wave of left-leaning Latin American leaders that have stood in opposition to U.S. influence in the region.