Daniel Ortega Confirms Interest in Reelection as President of Nicaragua

By Dialogo
March 12, 2009

Managua, March 8 (EFE).- The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, confirmed his interest in amending ‎the constitution to openly pursue the establishment of indefinite presidential reelection, the Managua ‎newspaper La Prensa reported today.‎ ‎"These barriers (in the Constitution) that deny this right (to reelect presidents) should not exist,” Ortega said ‎in an interview with British journalist David Frost on Arabic channel Al Jazeera, as quoted by La Prensa of ‎Managua in today’s edition.‎ ‎"Now that we are back in government, if conditions permit (to amend the Constitution), yes, I would run for ‎president," he continued. ‎ ‎"And if they are not present (the limitatations in the Constitution), then it would be good to act as prime ‎minister and then run for president," the Sandinista leader added. ‎ The Sandinistas and the Liberals of former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán (1997-2002) began ‎negotiations to amend the Constitution, including the election of presidents, in October 2007, but "froze" ‎after the municipal elections last November, which Liberals declared to be fraudulent.‎ Constitutional amendments in Nicaragua must be approved by two legislatures and at least two thirds of the ‎‎92 deputies of the National Assembly, which is composed of Sandinistas and Alemán‘s Liberals. ‎ Ortega also said that a possible constitutional amendment would establish the concept of "direct ‎democracy," which, he said, would give power to the people. ‎ He indicated that a system of "direct democracy" would, however, "end the presidential regime and establish ‎a parliamentary regime." ‎ In a parliamentary system there is no inhibition on the reelection of authorities, he said. ‎ When asked about an alleged illness that did not allow exposure to the sun and therefore forced him to work ‎at night, Ortega denied it. ‎ ‎"There is psychological warfare against us. For example, (the priest and Trappist poet) Ernesto Cardenal ‎said I cannot be (exposed) to sunlight because I suffer from a disease, and that that is why my wife Rosario ‎‎(Murillo) plays a very significant part (in government)," he said. ‎ ‎"That is psychological warfare, creating imagery that only exists in the heads of people who are interested in ‎doing harm," he added. ‎ The Sandinista leader said he hopes to live "long enough to contribute to this new era in the revolution" and ‎mentioned that his mother, Lidia Saavedra, lived to the age of 97.‎
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