Daniel Ortega Confirms Interest in Reelection as President of Nicaragua
By Dialogo March 12, 2009Managua, 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.