Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office statement on Nicaragua electoral reform legislation

The United Kingdom is concerned that, on 4 May, the Government of Daniel Ortega and the National Assembly in Nicaragua, in which the Sandinista National Liberation Front has an overwhelming majority of seats, approved electoral reform legislation that will deny the people of Nicaragua genuinely democratic, free and fair elections. The new legislation has multiple and serious shortcomings: it includes worrying provisions for excluding candidates from participation, gives the National Police inappropriate new powers to prohibit opposition party meetings and campaign events, fails to provide for timely and transparent reporting of results, and fails to provide for independent domestic or international election observation.

The United Kingdom is concerned that the new law makes it even less likely that voters in Nicaragua will have the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections in November this year. This is a deliberate decision not to put in place the sort of electoral framework and safeguards that the people of Nicaragua deserve, but rather to bring in measures that will contribute further to the marginalisation and disenfranchisement of voters and to the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua.

The United Kingdom continues to advocate for transparency and inclusivity across all of Nicaraguan society. The promotion of democracy and human rights will remain central to the UK’s approach to our relationship with Nicaragua.

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