Nicaragua Public Policy

Latin America

Current policy

Nicaragua is a country located in the region of North America. See abbreviation for Nicaragua. The Socialist Party FSLN has governed Nicaragua since 2007, with former Revolutionary leader Daniel Ortega as president. But criticism has gradually increased against his increasingly authoritarian rule. Protests that erupted in 2018 were mainly harmed by tough times, which left the country in a political and economic crisis.

The Sandinist Front for National Liberation (FSLN) ruled Nicaragua for a decade after the 1979 revolution (see Modern History) but was in opposition until Daniel Ortega took office in January 2007. FSLN has also been the largest in the National Assembly. The party won an overwhelming victory in the 2016 election – when large parts of the opposition were prevented from participating (see below).

  • Countryaah: Country facts and history of Nicaragua, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.

In April 2018, long-term frustration over financial difficulties and the Ortega family’s grip on the power of loud protests went over. Demonstrations first broke out against the government’s plans for major changes to the social security system. As the government deployed the army against protesters, the media tried to silence and mobilized counter-protesters grew the resistance and the harshness caused the dissatisfaction to boil over. S amman’s attacks became violent and after four days, when around 25 people were killed, Ortega withdrew the reform. But it was too late. The protests, which were largely led by students, continued. The dissatisfaction was directly directed at the government and the authoritarian government in the country. Protesters demanded that President Ortega and the Vice President, his wife Rosario Murillo, resign.


Mediation Attempts

After a month, a dialogue between Ortega and the protesters began, mediated by the Catholic Church. The talks soon broke down and the protests, including violent clashes, continued. The president claimed that criminal gang members infiltrated the protests, while the protesters accused the state government of assaulting civilians. During the summer, the regime hit harder and then the open violence has decreased. In total, over 300 people were killed, hundreds arrested and over 60,000 fled, according to the UN country, most to Costa Rica. In September, all demonstrations were banned.

In early 2019, new efforts were made to initiate talks between opposition representatives and the government. It’s been choppy. In June, an amnesty law was passed for anyone who participated in the riots in any way, and the government reiterated a promise to release all political prisoners. The law is criticized by the opposition and human rights organizations, as it also closes the door to investigate the crimes committed by security forces when the uprising was fought. It also means that those who are released commit themselves to refrain from continuing protests.

Iron grip on power

The naked oppression and overwhelm that the government side has caused has caused many former Sandinist supporters to become opponents. In the past, many Nicaraguans saw President Ortega as a guarantor of stability. In a country where one-third of the population is considered poor, questionable political trips are easier than concrete improvements in everyday life through major support programs implemented by the Sandinists with the help of money from Venezuela. They include better housing, micro loans to women, bonus salaries for low-paid and subsidies on transport, electricity and food. In addition, health care and the school system have been expanded. But economic uncertainty has increased since falling oil prices helped to free Venezuela’s finances.

Ahead of the 2016 election, several disgruntled foreign diplomats, journalists and others from the country were expelled, and the media’s maneuvering space has been increasingly limited. After an intervention by the Supreme Court, the opposition seems to have been completely put off. In June, the court dismissed the leader of the largest opposition party and replaced him with a regime-friendly representative (see Calendar). The decision drew criticism from, among others, international observers and the Catholic Church. Other groups in the opposition alliance had already previously been deprived of their legal status by the judiciary or the electoral authority, bodies that, according to the critics, are controlled by the government.

In the November 2016 election, Ortega, who had now made his wife Rosario Murillo his vice presidential candidate, received just over 72 percent of the vote. In the contemporary parliamentary elections, the FSLN went ahead and retained its two-thirds majority.

Following the unrest that culminated in the summer of 2018, a series of opposition parties have formed an alliance to try to challenge Ortega and the Sandinists in the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2021 (see Calendar). The UN reported in March 2020 that over 100,000 people have fled the country since the unrest erupted two years earlier.

When the corona pandemic swept across the world in the spring of 2020, the Presidential couple Ortega-Murillo belonged to the few leaders in the world who readily addressed the threat and dimmed the danger of the virus. Many other Latin American countries closed borders and imposed restrictions even before the infection began to spread to any great extent. But President Ortega, like his counterpart in Brazil, called covid-19 Jair Bolosnaro “a little flu” and opposed demands for measures to prevent the spread. According to critics, the number of cases is significantly higher than the official figures show.

Follow the ongoing development of the Calendar.

READING TIP – read more about Nicaragua in the UI web magazine Foreign
magazine : Pandemic may set point for Nicaragua’s new dynasty (2020-06-10) Fear and suppressed anger in Ortegas Nicaragua (2019-03-01) Cuban reform discussion nothing for Castro’s disciples (2018 -09-25) Nicaragua begins to get enough of Daniel Ortega’s board (2018-06-19)


Official name

Republic of Nicaragua / Republic of Nicaragua


republic, unitary state

Head of State and Government

President Daniel Ortega (2007–)

Most important parties with mandates in the last election

Sandinistic Front for National Liberation (FSLN) 70, Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) 13, Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) 2, Independent Liberal Party (PLI) 2, Others 3 (2016)

Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections

Sandinistic Front for National Liberation (FSLN) 62, Independent Liberal Party (PLI) 26, Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) 2 (2011)


between 78 and 80% in the November 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections 1

Upcoming elections

presidential and parliamentary elections 2021

  1. data missing from the 2016 Sources selection