Sunday, November 20, 2011

Something Smelly in Nicaragua...The Rigging of the Fraudulent 2011 Elections in Nicaragua Unveiled

Daniel Ortega - Red thumb up!
I did blog already here about FSLN pre-election fraud on the November 2011 Nicaragua presidential elections. It's not the first time that election fraud occurred in Nicaragua. The 2008 Municipal election fraud had serious consequences; lots of foreign economic aids were suspended.   After 100 % of the votes of this year's elections were counted, the Electoral Council said that Ortega had 62.46% of the vote and the Liberal Party's Fabio Gadea had 31%. While Ortega won the 2011 elections with a staggering 62.46 % of all votes, I would like to point out here all irregularities and suspected fraud. For a start, here is what all accredited and unaccredited, domestic and foreign observers had to say about the elections:

  • Election observers from the European Union, said they were initially unable to monitor polls but were eventually allowed access. Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission in Nicaragua, Mr Luis Yáñez-Barnuevo MEP, said 20 of the group's 90 observers faced "inexplicable" difficulties in gaining access to polling stations."I don't understand why there are so many obstacles, so much opacity and so many tricks in a process that should be clean and transparent," Yanez said, adding that some precincts opened late, blocked opposition election monitors and filed vote tallies that were illegible.....The mission will issue its final report on the elections shortly
  • According to Robert Courtney director of Transparency International (Etica & Transparencia in Nicaraua), 11 of 13 indicators relating to participation in a clean and ethical campaign of suffrage, EyT saw "a systematic violation and failure. EyT who worked with 50,000 unaccredited voluntary observators said: "The failure in these 11 basic international requirements force us to declare that the electoral process is not fair, honest and credible." "On the contrary, we've clearly signs of fraud," said Courtney.
  • Accredited Organization of American States (OAS) election observers called the elections “opaque” and “worrisome” respectively. The head of the Organization of American States observer mission, Dante Caputo, said its observers have been denied access to 10 polling stations, which would account for 20 per cent of the statistical material they had planned to collect for their analysis. The final report hasn't been published yet. Notoriously duplicitous OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza first stated, “in Nicaragua yesterday, democracy and peace took a step forward,” but quickly backed away from this statement after realizing the true extent of the problem.
  • Unaccredited Domestic electoral observers of Hagamos Democracia rejected the electoral results and said that by the time the polls closed, they had received “close to 600 citizen complaints,” indicating irregularities in 14 percent of the polls. Hagamos Democracia reports that 40 percent of the citizen complaints they received were related to abuse and violence by the police against opposition parties who were demanding access to the polls. Also reported incidents of violence and voter intimidation in various parts of the country.
  • The electoral observer organization IPADE (Instituto para la Democracia) outlined in their preliminary report some of the challenges. IPADE which monitored the elections with some 3,000 observers accredited by the electoral tribunal confirmed the expulsion of 43 opponents prosecutors assigned to polling stations, of which about half belonged to PLI. According to Mauricio Zúñiga director of IPADE, in 34% of the voting centers the Voter Reception Teams (JVR, Juntas Receptoras de Votos, part of the citizen verification process as part of electoral law) did not have access to the final results at their voting centers; 13% could not arrive at their voting centers because of issues such as violence or interference; 20% of voting centers did not have observers from the opposition party alliance; lack of accreditation of observers (national and international); in 20 municipalities voters were systematically intimidated by police and pro-government forces; and finally a general lack of control on the voting and vote counting process.
  • The Carter Center did not officially monitor the 2011 elections but did sent a small study group to visit Nicaragua to listen to the viewpoints of diverse citizens about the electoral process and the future direction of the country. The Center declined to send an electoral observation mission under the restrictive regulations because it was denied access access to all required information sources. The study group stated on November 9th: "We acknowledge the strong electoral support given to President Ortega in Sunday's election. Nevertheless, we are troubled by the reports of significant deficiencies in the 2011 electoral process in Nicaragua and their implications for democratic governance. It is perplexing that a country that is showing social and economic improvement has at the same time permitted an erosion of democratic institutions."..."After more than 20 years of elections, it is distressing that electoral institutions remain so weak in Nicaragua. The report of the observation mission of the European Union documented a wide range of problems. The problems with party poll watcher access, the refusal to credential some experienced national observer groups, and limits on international observers made it difficult to independently verify the official results. Last minute changes in rules, absence of information for citizens and political parties, and vague regulations also affected confidence. All of these things produced suspicion and distrust in the process and the results on the part of important sectors of the population."
  • The Consejo de Expertos Electorales de Latinoamérica (CEELA), a body of (former) voting judges in Latin America, was invited by the Consejo Supremo Electoral (CSE) of Nicaragua to "accompany" or monitor the elections. CEELA accompanied the process with more than 40 staff and ruled out the possibility of fraud already before the day of the elections!
  • The National Council of Universities (CNUCNU was that: "there were weaknesses that are attributable to the elections legislation, the functioning of the Electoral Power and of participating political organizations. The extent and nature of these weaknesses do not affect the validity and legitimacy of the election results."
One could ask one self why bother about a little election fraud? Ortega would have won anyway! That's exactly what the mainstream public opinion in Nicaragua is about. I will try here to argue that there was apparently a significant election fraud and that it had an important reason. First of all there was a huge pre-election fraud going on for months, which was swept under the rug by the mainstream media. You can read more about that in my other blogpost.

Secondly let us take a closer look at the pre-election polls that were held before the election date of November 6th. On one hand we have the public polls held by the independent agency CID-Gallup and on the other hand we have the FSLN polls that were held by Consultora Siglo Nuevo (CSN) and that were paid and published by FSLN at I consider CID-Gallup (CG) to be more independent and reliable in its election polls. CID-Gallup, headquartered in Costa Rica, offers market research and consulting services in more than 20 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean. CG has an International reliable reputation and I think it's not prepared to sell this by adjusting election polls for bribes. Also I think CG is more experienced and does have more knowledge to determine an accurate population sample than CSN or M&R, because it's a much larger company.
 There is a clear positive deviation of the CSN polls in relation to the CID-Gallup polls as you can see in the chart below.
Nicaragua 2011 pre-elections polls
A constant positive deviation in consecutive polls, means that at least one of the two is unreliable. Deviations in polls allways should be at random.
 And then the M&R polls. M&R polls are a bit questionable, there are only few and they seem to be more pro-FSLN than the CSN-polls.  Raúl Obregón, general manager of the M&R Consultores did say on several occasions in the media that FSLN's aim was to win 2011's elections with 67% victory as it did in 1984. Such statements make your polls suspicious. There is also this remarkable issue about the latest M&R poll. The latest M&R poll held on October 29th showed that Ortega would win with 58% of the votes. This was discussed with unbelieve in the media. The poll was paid by and intended to be published in La Prensa (pro-PLI), but was leaked to Radio YA (pro-FSLN). Due to the outrage, denial and scandal surrounding M&R's latest voter-intention poll, Raúl Obregón said “I am going to retire from electoral polling”. This fits perfect in the disinformation scheme. If a polling agency paid by a pro-PLI newspaper predicts 58% for Ortega shortly before elections-day, then a staggering victory of Ortega would be more acceptable to the people. Obregón's public announcement to quit elections polling adds even more credibility. So no proof, but it's plausible that M&R Consultores was bribed to adjust its polls.

Getting elected as president with more than 50% of all votes in Nicaragua means that you can practically rule out Nicaragua's National Assembly. As a president You will have legislative power and you can rule by decree. If you would have 60% congressional majority (56 out of 92 seats), you would be able to partial reform the Nicaraguan constitution by amendment. Miraculously Ortega/FSLN won the elections with more than 60%. According to the CSE, the FSLN will have 62 seats out of 92 in 2012. Coincidentally that's two-thirds of congressional majority. So guess what's going to happen in 2012...
(Arto. 194 of the constitution: "The approval of the partial reform of the constitution will require the affirmative vote of sixty percent of the National Assembly. In the case of approval of the total reform of the constitution two-thirds of the affirmative vote of the National Assembly is required.")

We still have to wait for the final reports of OAS and EU observers, but my preliminary conclusion is that it is very plausible that there was a significant election fraud campaign going on. That it was done not to win the elections, but that it was done to win the elections with more than 60% in the first round and that would result in 2/3 of the seats of the National Assembly. It was a long term carefully set out strategic plan that included pre-election frauds, obstructing domestic and international monitors and that contained disinformation campaigns. Probably with funding and advice from Venezuela, if not orchestrated. It is said that Ortega suffers from an extreme sensitivity to sunlight triggered by the medication for a mysterious blood disease for which he regularly seeks treatment in Cuba. This is why he is rarely seen in broad daylight lately. One has to fear that most of his future deeds can't stand the daylight either.
What will be the consequences if observer reports say that election fraud did happen?
  • Then Nicaragua is clearly violating the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter. "Unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summits of the Americas process". Nicaragua could be expelled from OAS.
  • US/EU Administrations will not recognize the election as free and fair. Foreign aid will further decrease but Venezuelan aid will increase as long as Chávez is president. Increasing Venezuelan aid will mean more Venezuelan influence on Nicaraguan politics.
  • Foreign Investors climate will absolutely decrease
  • Maybe some expropriations of foreign investments will happen in the next five years. The gold mining industry could be a start.

Read more:,_2011
R. Michael Alvarez - Election Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation 

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