Elections and Events 1983-1989


Close 1999: “Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council was…established in 1983…Though its original members were appointed by the FSLN, and presumably held Sandinista views, the council evolved into a highly professional and nonpartisan organization” (page 71).

Isbester 1999: “The [AMNLAE] reforms were passed in 1983” (page 191). They were proposed in 1981.

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “The war intensified in 1983 as the CIA mined Nicaragua’s principal harbors and blew up oil storage and pipeline facilities and the United States cut Nicaragua’s sugar export quota” (page 87).

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “Policy toward the [Atlantic] Coast began to shift in mid-1983, when Interior Minister Tomás Borge offered a public apology for past errors and announced an amnesty for Miskitus jailed for security-related offenses” (page 90).


Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 23 September 1983: In January “the three opposition parties—the PSD, the Movimiento Liberal Constitucionalista (MLC) and the Partido Social Cristiano (PSC)—withdrew from the special commision preparing the [political parties] law. This left final approval in the hands of the FSLN and its partners in the Frente Patriotico Revolucionario—Partido Popular Social Cristiano (PPSC), Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI) and Partido Socialista Nicaraguense (PSN)” (Latinnews.com).

Smith 1993: “Venezuela and Mexico pursued their peace efforts, holding a meeting on 8-9 January 1983 on the Panamanian island of Contadora of the four neighbouring nations of Central America: Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama. The ‘Contadora’ Group met to discuss ways of resolving the Central American conflict by pacific means and through a mutually agreed and negotiated peace treaty” (page 272). Describes efforts of the Contadora Group (pages 272-273).


Stahler-Sholk 1987: “The FSLN had promised general elections by 1985 as part of the revolutionary program drawn up in exile. The timetable was accelerated in response to opposition demands. Preparations began with the Council of State drafting a Law of Political Parties, approved in August 1983” (page 81).


Gilbert 1988: “The surface calm of earlier months returned to church-state relations and endured into 1983, only to be shattered on March 4, the day the Pope came to Nicaragua. The Sandinistas had courted the papal visit, part of a Central American tour, which they naively saw as an opportunity to focus world attention on American aggression against Nicaragua and demonstrate the compatibility between Christianity and their revolution…But John Paul had his own, unambiguous agenda: to strengthen what he regarded as a beleaguered church and reinforce the position of his bishops” (page 142). Describes events. “The irony of the Pope’s attack on the Sandinistas and their Christian allies is that religion was thriving in Nicaragua, while the strength of the revolutionary church had dwindled. In the 1980s, by all accounts, there were more churches with more people in them, more processions, more denominations, more clergy, and more seminarians than ever before. Under Sandinista rule, Nicaragua was undergoing a religious revival” (pages 143-144).

Robinson 1992: In March 1983 the “first large-scale invasion of contras from Honduran territory occurs. In the United Nations, Nicaragua denounces U.S. support for the contras; only El Salvador, Honduras, and the United States vote against the Nicaraguan motion” (page 291).


Crónica de una guerra no imaginaria: cronología de las relaciones Estados Unidos-Nicaragua, 1979-1984 1986: “Abril 30: 1500 contrarrevolucionarios cruzan la frontera con Honduras y penetran a territorio nicaragüense, respaldados por la artillería del ejército hondureño. Tropas nicaragüenses chocan por primera vez con elementos contrarrevolucionarios de la Alianza Revolucionaria Democrática—ARDE—bajo el mando de Edén Pastora, cerca de la frontera con Costa Rica” (page 28).


Payne 1985: On May 4, 1983 the “Fourth Council of State Session opens” (page 39).

Robinson 1992: In May 1983 “ Washington reduces Nicaragua’s sugar importation quota by 90 percent” (page 291).


Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 10 June 1983: “The council of state, Nicaragua’s provisional legislature, is deep in debate over [a law] regulating political parties…[It] differs considerably from that originally proposed 18 months ago by the FSLN…The other political parties—both pro-and anti-Sandinista—have protested loudly…In theory, the law will open up the political process” (Latinnews.com).


Close 1985: “The Parties Act is important because it saw the Sandinistas move from a position which would have reserved to themselves the right to govern to one acknowledging the right of any legal party…to contest and perhaps gain power” (page 154).

Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 23 September 1983: “Parties presently represented on the Council of State are automatically granted legal recognition. The other three existing parties—Partido Comunista de Nicaragua (PCN), Movimiento de Accion Popular Marxista Leninista (MAP-ML), and Partido Social Democrata (PSD)—are granted one month from the promulgation of the statute to request legal recognition. Future activity of the political parties will be supervised by a Consejo Nacional de Partidos Politicos, formed by one representative of the government and one from each recognized party…Within a few days of the passage of the new statute...the PSC saw a major internal faction side openly with one of the ‘contra’ organisations. The Frente de Solidaridad Democrata Cristiano…announced that it had joined the Alianza Revolucionaria Democratica (ARDE)” (Latinnews.com).

Payne 1985: On August 17, 1983 the “Council of State passed the Law of Political Parties. The law called for the formation of a National Assembly of Political Parties (ANPP) to meet twice a year and be made up of one delegate from each of the existing political parties and one delegate named by the Junta. This body would then elect four delegates to a National Council of Political Parties (CNPP) which would also include three representatives from the Council of State and a Presiding Officer named by the Junta” (page 40).


Robinson 1992: In September 1983 the “contras launch their Black September offensive, including sea- and air-based attacks against petroleum installations and key economic infrastructure and ground attacks against the principal entry points on the country’s northern and southern borders” (page 291).

September 2

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “On September 2, 1983 the Council of State adopted the Political Parties Law which was designed to regulate political parties in Nicaragua” (page 18).

Sanabria 1986: “Ley de partidos políticos” (pages 139-151). Reproduces the text of the law.

September 13

Horton 1998: “In late 1983 the FSLN decreed a military draft, known as the Patriotic Military Service (Servicio Militar Patriótico, SMP), under which every Nicaraguan male between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four was required to spend two years in the Sandinista Army” (page 174).

Sanabria 1986: “Ley de servicio militar patriótico” (pages 199-214). Reproduces the text of the law.


Robinson 1992: In October 1983 the “contra offensive deepens with heavy fighting in the north and south, eight aerial attacks, and sabotage actions against the ports of Corinto and Sandino” (page 291).

Smith 1993: “If the Latin Americans were negotiating for peace, the United States seemed to be preparing for war. Bellicose speeches by President Reagan threatening military action against Nicaragua were followed by invasion, not of Nicaragua, but of tiny Grenada, on 25 October 1983. The Grenada invasion was preceded by large-scale US naval exercises in the eastern Caribbean” (page 273). Describes efforts of the U.S. government to destabilize the Nicaraguan government.


A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “The current PCD developed following a split of the conservative party in November 1983 when the National Council of Political Parties recognized the faction as the legitimate representative of the conservative party” (page 26).


Close 1985: “The Coordinadora is not really a party but a coalition of opposition forces made up of three parties, the rumps of two unions, and the apex organization of Nicaraguan business (COSEP). It represents the most conservative sectors of Nicaraguan public life, and its degree of opposition to the Sandinista state is surpassed only by the expatriate counter-revolutionaries. The most important parts of the CDN are the [PSC] and COSEP. The PSC, the second-best organized party in the country after the FSLN, is strong among the middle strata” (page 154).

“(T)he CDN has a long-standing set of claims against the government that they also use as an electoral platform. The most important part of this platform contains demands to democratize the revolution by scheduling elections, lifting all state of emergency restrictions on free speech and assembly, and ‘de-Sandinization’” (page 155).

Crónica de una guerra no imaginaria: cronología de las relaciones Estados Unidos-Nicaragua, 1979-1984 1986: “Deciembre 20-23: las fuerzas de MISURA entran al asentamiento miskito Francia Sirpe al amancecer del 20 de diciembre. Los contrarrevolucionarios secuestran alrededor de 500 pobladores y los llevan en una larga caminata hacia Honduras” (page 34).

Freeland 1988: “In December 1983 the first of a series of amnesties was decreed. It released all Miskitos imprisoned for counterrevolutionary activities in the previous two years, and guaranteed the right of free return to those who had left the country either as refugees or to join contra forces, if they surrendered their arms. Four days later, it was broadened to include all Nicaraguans, except ex-officials of Somoza’s National Guard” (pages 57-58).

Payne 1985: Reproduces the text of the nine-point document entitled “One Step Towards Democracy: Free Elections” issued on December 24, 1983 (pages 44-45).

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “The Coordinadora is a coalition of four parties, the [PSC], the [SDP], the [PLC], the unregistered faction of the conservative party, two labor unions and a group of trade organizations…In December 1983 the Coordinadora submitted a list of nine conditions that it stated must be met before the Coordinadora would participate in the elections” (pages 27-28).


Booth 1998a: “Until 1984 the Sandinistas ruled de facto. Public policy emanated from the FSLN’s National Directorate; a multi-member junta headed the executive; and a corporatist-consultative Council of State (Consejo de Estado) formed the legislature. Seeking to legitimize the revolution and weaken the growing Contra insurgency, the revolutionary government called an election in 1984” (page 188).

Chinchilla 1994: “During the fall 1984 campaign in Nicaragua’s first national elections since the revolution, women expressed their discontent to FSLN representatives…(T)he FSLN called for a review of the role of AMNLAE and a general re-evaluation of its approach to organizing women in the context of the war” (page 181).

Freeland 1988: “By 1984, contra attacks had all but paralyzed the Atlantic Coast economy…All the ethnic communities were affected, in North and South Zelaya” (page 53).

Hale 1987: “By early 1984, the highest political authority in each of the [resettled communities] was in the hands of a Miskitu” (page 116).

Hale 1994: In 1984 “came a radical shift toward the broad recognition of Miskitu and other Coast people’s rights to autonomy. Although concerns about state security persisted…a distinctly nonmilitary political reasoning emerged, proved efficacious, and steadily gained acceptance among state and party officials concerned with the Coast” (page 29).

Hoyt 2004: “After 1983, exiled Somocistas, who had no party because the Somoza era [PLN] had disintegrated, began to join the PLC, which gradually became the PLI’s successor” (page 19).

Isbester 2001: “In January and February 1984, the United States sponsored a covert action against Nicaragua. The United States mined the only major shipping harbor in Nicaragua…By 1984, the United States was sponsoring war on two fronts, on the northern border with Honduras...and on the southern border of Costa Rica. The contra army numbered between 10,000 and 15,000 soldiers. The Nicaraguan army numbered between 60,000 and 100,000. Unlike the Nicaraguan army, which was trying to militarily defeat the contras, the contras’ goal was terrorism directed at the Nicaraguan populace” (page 55).

Nicaragua ’s elections—a step toward democracy? 1989: The PCN is founded in 1984 in a split with the PCDN (unpaged).

Saint-Germain 1993: “Since 1983, more than two dozen parties have competed in elections… The smaller political parties are less likely to elect women, although political ideology and party history play a role as well. Thus, women in Nicaragua are faced with a wide array of small parties, which complicates their efforts to build political influence for women” (pages 132-133).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “Estructura del estado (1984)” (page 274).

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “The FPR coalition dissolved as the four member parties decided to run separate candidates in the 1984 elections. The three small right-wing parties in the CDN coalition boycotted, arguing that the government had failed to provide conditions for fair elections” (page 81).

Zub K. 2002: “Los candidatos evangélicos [en 1984] fueron escogidos por el FSLN sin consultas a las iglesias. Los postulados fueron el octogenario líder bautista José María Ruiz, quien fue re-electo como legislador y Sixto Ulloa [bautista], ambos por el FSLN, sin pertenecer al partido” (page 47).


Close 1985: “On learning that elections would be held in eight and one-half months, the Coordinadora decided that this was too soon because the emergency decree had not yet been lifted and there had been no steps taken to rename the various Sandinista institutions. The CDN effectively conditioned its participation in the elections on seeing its programme of government enacted” (page 155).

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “In February 1984, the government brought forward the election date to November 4 th, 1984” (page 16).

Nicaragua ’s 1984 elections: a history worth the retelling 1990: “(T)he US not only stepped up its political pressures, but also escalated the military aggression. In February 1984, mines were planted in Nicaragua’s harbors” (page 23).

Payne 1985: On February 21, 1984 Ortega “announced that the voting age would be lowered to sixteen” (page 47). On February 27 the “Independent Liberal Party withdrew from a political alliance with the FSLN by leaving the Patriotic Revolutionary Front” (page 48).

Reding 1991: “In February 1984, the Council of State began work on Nicaragua’s first serious electoral law” (page 25).

Smith 1993: “On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Sandino, 21 February 1984, the government announced that elections would take place for a president, vice-president and National Assembly on 4 November of the same year, in the same week as the US presidential elections. The elections would be based on geographical areas, and the electoral system would be based upon proportional representation to ensure that the minority parties would achieve some representation in the National Assembly” (page 148).

March: electoral law

Blackford 1992: “The CSE, with its official beginning in the Electoral Law of 1984, was to be the supreme authority in all electoral matters in Nicaragua (including plebiscites, referendums and elections)” (page 56).

Booth 1985: “The JGRN in March 1984…announced that the assembly and presidential elections would be simultaneous owing to external aggression and to the high cost of holding separate elections…The Electoral Law of 1984 provided for the simultaneous election of a president, vice-president, and a ninety-member National Assembly, all for six-year terms. The presidency would go to the party with a relative majority (the most votes). The Assembly was to have legislative power and would also draft a new constitution to replace the Fundamental Statute. The Assembly’s constituency was to consist of ten multimember geographical districts with a proportional representation of parties according to their share of the total vote. Voting was to be for parties, each of which would determine its own candidates’ positions on the ballot. Elections would be overseen by a fourth branch of government, the Supreme Electoral Council, wich would establish the voter registry and conduct the actual balloting. The vote would be popular, direct, and secret for all Nicaraguans sixteen years of age or older…Municipal elections were to take place at a later date” (page 216).

Booth 1986: “The Electoral Law of 1984 provided for the simultaneous election of a president, vice president, and national assembly, all for six-year terms...The Assembly, which would legislate and draft a new constitution to replace the Fundamental Statute, would consist of 90 seats divided into ten multimember geographical districts” (page 43).

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 18 1984: “In view of the elections for a 90-member Constituent Assembly scheduled for 4 November 1984, an Electoral Law was adopted by the Council of State on 15 March 1984. The new Law—consisting of 154 articles and 18 chapters—provides for universal suffrage and a system of proportional representation. The Constituent Assembly is to draw up a Constitution within two years of taking office” (page 18).

Close 1985: In the “Electoral Law, the FSLN yielded to pressure from Nicaragua’s other political parties to replace the Council of State—which represented the FSLN, the army, Sandinista mass organizations, other parties, opposition unions, and business groups—with a legislature elected from geographically defined constituencies” (page 154).

Close 1995: “(T)he 1984 Electoral Law…established both an electoral system and the offices to be elected” (page 52). “Nicaragua’s 1984 Electoral Law set out the groundwork for the new legislature: ninety members (‘diputados’), each with an alternate (‘suplente’), returned by proportional representation from the country’s nine administrative districts, with a provision for seating the defeated presidential candidate of any party that won one-ninetieth (1.1 percent) of the national vote. The electoral system benefited small parties because all regional remainders were put into a national pool, improving a party’s chance of getting at least the 1.1 percent needed to see its presidential hopeful in the legislature. As a result, this put the maximum number of parties in the new Assembly, enhancing the Sandinistas’ democratic credentials and broadening the base of representation” (page 53).

Gorvin 1989: “Under the electoral laws adopted in 1984 each party chooses by a simple majority of its members a presidential and vice-presidential candidate, whose names are then put to the general electorate, and the slate which receives a simple majority wins both offices…The secret ballot was not introduced in Nicaragua until 1984. The open ballot helped the Somoza family to control the country’s political structure from 1936 until its overthrow in 1979” (page 250).

Nicaragua ’s 1984 elections: a history worth the retelling 1990: “On March 15, 1984, after much debate, the Council of State finally approved an electoral law. Among its most controversial points were the minimum voting age (approved as 16 years) and the minimum age to run for president and vice-resident (25 years) as well as for the National Assembly (21)” (pages 23-24).

Payne 1985: On March 10, 1984 the “Democratic Coordinator groups in the Council of State withdrew their delegates from discussion of the electoral law” (page 48). On March 15 the “electoral law was passed by the Council of State minus the five Democratic Coordinator members who had withdrawn a week earlier” (page 49). Describes the law (pages 49-50).

Reding 1991: “The Electoral Law, approved at the end of March 1984, revealed the outlines of the form of government that would emerge from the Nicaraguan revolution. To maximize pluralistic deliberation, a ninety-member National Constituent Assembly would be elected by proportional representation, with any party that gained a mere 1 percent of the national vote assured of at least one seat (in practice at least two seats because losing presidential candidates also would be seated in the legislature” (page 25).

Sanabria 1986: Reproduces the text of the “ley electoral” (pages 153-187).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “En 1984 se aprobó la ley electoral que estableció al Consejo Supremo Electoral como cuarto poder del Estado, la elección directa del Presidente y de la Asamblea, el derecho de voto a los 16 años, el acceso igual a todos los partidos a los medios de comunicación, el financiamiento estatal a los partidos para los campañas electorales. Esta ley establecía la representación proporcional en la Asamblea, según los votos recibidos, a fin de garantizar el carácter pluralista del órgano legislativo” (page 284).

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “(T)he government decided that the elections would be for a president, a vice-president and for members of a national assembly, all of whom would serve for six years. A proposal to elect initially only a constituent assembly, whose task would be to prepare a new constitution, was rejected on the ground that it would be too expensive to hold a series of elections. Following the announcement of an election day, an electoral law was approved by the Council of State” (page 18). Discusses the provisions of the law (pages 18-22).

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “The Council of State approved an Electoral Law in March 1984 and elections were scheduled for 4 November 1984. The law established the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), a five-member body composed of representatives of various political parties, as a fourth branch of government to oversee national elections. The law provided for direct elections of the president and vice president and a 96-member National Assembly (90 deputies directly elected by a proportional representation system and another six seats guaranteed to minority parties)” (page 81).


Robinson 1992: In March 1984 the “CIA and Pentagon units assist the contras in the mining of Nicaraguan harbors in gross violation of international law” (page 291).


A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “In April 1984, a three person Supreme Electoral Council (SCE) was appointed by the Nicaraguan Supreme Court. It was given the responsibility of administering the entire electoral process” (page 18).

Robinson 1992: In April 1984 more “than thirty-five thousand troops surround Nicaragua as the Pentagon simultaneously stages maneuvers off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in Honduras” (page 292).


Robinson 1992: In May 1984 the “International Court of Justice orders the United States to suspend the mining of Nicaraguan ports and support for the contras” (page 292).


Booth 1985: “The FDN suffered serious setbacks in the United States when the White House capitulated in July 1984 to the U.S. House of Representatives’ refusal to authorize further funding for contra operations in 1984” (page 209).

Booth 1986: “When voter registration ended on July 31, 1984, 1,560,580 Nicaraguans had registered to vote” (page 44).

Canadian Church and Human Rights Delegation 1984: “During the electoral period, all emergency measures were lifted. On July 19, 1984, the following rights were restored: free travel within the country, political organizing, and freedom of the press” (pages 5-6).

Close 1985: “In late July, just before the deadline for filing nominations, things seemed to change: the CDN named former governing junta member and one time ambassador to the US Arturo Cruz as its candidate” (page 155).

Freeland 1988: “By 1984, contra attacks had all but paralyzed the Atlantic Coast economy…All the ethnic communities were affected, in North and South Zelaya” (page 53). MISATAN (Organization of Miskitos in Nicaragua) is formed in 1984 “in response to pressures for a Miskito mass organization from Miskito leaders sympathetic to the Revolution” (page 58).

Hale 1987: “Formed in July 1984, MISATAN’s directive board consisted of the few Miskitu closely identified with the FSLN” (page 116).

Payne 1985: On July 16, 1984 the “FSLN designated Junta members Daniel Ortega and Sergio Ramirez as candidates for president and vice-president respectively. The FSLN also stated that it would run alone and not in alliance with the other Patriotic Front parties” (page 56). On July 20, 1984 the “Democratic Coordinator announced they would support a presidential/vice-presidential ticket of Arturo Cruz and Adan Fletes of the Social Christian Party” (page 57). On July 25 the “Coordinator announced its ‘definitive’ withdrawal from the November 4 elections…As the midnight deadline passed, seven parties were registered to run” (page 58). Lists the parties.

Serra Vázquez 1995: “En 1984, se registraron 1,560,580 personas, un estimado 94% de la población mayor de 16 años” (page 285).


Close 1985: “(T)he campaign officially lasted from 1 August to 2 November…The most interesting campaign was run by the Coordinadora who decided not to enter a candidate…(T)he final day for nominations (7 August) passed with the Coordinadora still out…The FSLN government, recognizing the international weight of the CDN, extended the nomination period to 27 August” (page 155).

Payne 1985: On August 6, 1984 the “CSE stated that the three political parties in the Coordinator had lost their legal status and their right to function because they had not registered their candidates. It further stated that, to be reinstated, the parties would have to submit 20,000 signatures as well as all documents required by the electoral and political parties laws” (page 60). On August 22, 1984 the “National Council of Political Parties (CNPP) voted to ban the three political parties of the Coordinator” (page 62).


Payne 1985: In September 1984 “ARDE, the FDN, and the Indian group MISURA signed a formal unification. Alfonso Robelo would be the political head of the new Nicaraguan Reconciliation Unity (UNIR)…Eden Pastora and his group remained outside the rebel unification” (page 63). On September 16, 1984 “the six registered opposition parties issued a document stating, ‘The Nicaraguan government and the Supreme Electoral Council have been unable to put into practice the guarantees established by the electoral law.’ The document concluded by saying that if FSLN harassment of their political activities, both by mobs and by police, did not cease they would be forced to withdraw” (page 64). On September 21, 1984 the “FSLN announced that the period for candidate registration was being extended until October 1 and that the suspension of the legal status of the three Coordinator parties would be temporarily revoked” (page 65).


Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 19 1985: “(V)arious articles of the March 1984 Electoral Law were amended by Decree no. 1516 published on 31 October 1984. The modifications concern…individual methods of voting, registration of political parties, and the election campaign, whose duration was set at 94 days” (page 14).

Close 1985: “On 21 October, two weeks before the vote, the Liberals announced their withdrawal from the campaign…In the end the PLI did not leave the race…Just the week after the Liberals pulled out, the Conservatives held a convention to see if they, too, would quit. They stayed in” (page 156).

Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 26 October 1984: “On 20 October Brooklyn Rivera, head of Misurasata—the Atlantic coast aboriginal organization aligned with Eden Pastora’s faction of ARDE—accepted an invitation by junta coordinator Daniel Ortega to take advantage of the amnesty offered by the government and return to Nicaragua…A day later, at the close of the national assembly of the PLI, Virgilo Godoy announced that 82.6% of the delegates present had voted against taking part in the 4 November elections” (Latinnews.com).

Ortiz 1988: “Taking advantage of the government’s offer for talks, Brooklyn Rivera, leader of MISURASATA, returned to Nicaragua in late October 1984, after spending three years fighting the Sandinistas” (page 8).

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “At a special convention on October 21, 1984, the PLI decided to withdraw from the elections” (page 24). Discusses the reasons. “PLI leaders did not deliver their notice of withdrawal to the SCE until October 30…On October 31 the SCE decided not to accept the PLI’s notice of withdrawal” (page 25). Discusses the reasons (pages 25-26). “On October 28 th, a week before the elections, the [PCD] delegates met in Managua to discuss whether the party should withdraw from the electoral process. What exactly happened at the meeting is the subject of considerable controversy” (page 27). Discribes the events.

November 3

Payne 1985: On November 3, 1984 “CSE officials acknowledged that most officials in charge of the 3,892 voting sites are either members or sympathizers of the Sandinista Front, and that the ballots are to be guarded the night after the voting by Sandinista Police under the authority of the Interior Ministry which has renamed them the ‘electoral police’ for the temporary duty” (pages 74-75).

November 4: general election (Ortega Saavedra / FSLN)

Alcántara Sáez 1989: “Resultados de las elecciones del 4 de noviembre de 1984" (page 209). Gives for seven parties the percent of the vote and seats won.

Alcántara Sáez 1999: “Las elecciones de 1984” (pages 278-280). “Resultados de las elecciones presidenciales” (page 279). “La coalición Coordinadora Democrática Nicaragüense (CDN)...boicoteó las elecciones de 1984” (page 296).

Anderson, Leslie 1995: Gives percent of registered voters who voted and percent of vote won by the Sandinistas, Conservatives, and Liberals (page 87).

Anderson, Leslie 2005: “The 1984 election” (pages 64-66).

Anderson, Thomas P. 1988: Gives percent of presidential vote and number of seats won by FSLN (page 218).

Booth 1985: Lists the candidates for each party and describes the electoral campaign (pages 216-219). Gives election results (pages 219 and 221).

Booth 1986: “Results of the 1984 Nicaraguan national election” (page 47). Gives turnout, presidential returns, and national assembly returns.

Booth 1998a: “The Reagan administration…denounced the 1984 vote as a ‘Soviet-style sham’ despite contrary opinions from external observers and the international press, escalated its diplomatic and propaganda campaign against the Sandinista government, and increased military aid to the Contras. This undercut the new regime’s legitimacy abroad and frustrated its hopes that the 1984 vote might smooth the way at home” (page 189).

Canadian Church and Human Rights Delegation 1984: Discusses the Nicaraguan electoral system in place for these elections (pages 16-24). “Institutional structure of the Nicaraguan electoral system” (page 18). Describes the “participation of parties” (pages 25-28), “the electoral campaign” (pages 28-31), “observing the elections” (pages 31-34), and “the election outcome” (pages 35-36).

Christian 1986: “November 1984” (pages 345-354). Discusses many aspects of the election.

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 19 1985: “Elections were held for all the seats in the new National Constituent Assembly…This was the first nationwide poll in Nicaragua since 1974” (page 77). Describes the characteristics of parliament, the electoral system, general considerations and conduct of the elections, and statistics, including the distribution of members of parliament according to sex (13 women are elected) (pages 77-78).

Close 1985: Discusses the election. “Results of the 1984 Nicaraguan presidential election” (page 157). “Results of the 1984 Nicaraguan National Assembly election” (page 157).

Close 1988: “Elections” (pages 132-138). Discusses the 1984 election and gives results.

Close 1999: “In 1984, besides a general lack of experience, the CSE also ran into real problems when reports from outlying regions were reported far more slowly than anticipated” (page 181).

Coleman 1997: “The MAP-ML was registered as a party in 1984, ran its own candidates, and received 10,000 votes and two assembly seats” (page 174).

Cornelius 1986: “The election date, November 4, was selected so that Nicaragua would have a legitimate, elected government in place before the anticipated reelection of Ronald Reagan in the United States on November 6. The Sandinistas hoped that a competitive election with heavy turnout would deter a U.S. military intervention and reassure the FSLN’s defenders. So the Sandinistas’ decision to hold elections in 1984 was largely of foreign inspiration” (page 62).

Coraggio 1986: “1984: elections in revolution” (pages 85-99). “Results of the elections for president, vice-president, and the national constituent assembly” (page 86).

Democracy in Nicaragua: an eyewitness report on the 1984 election and popular democracy in Nicaragua 1985: “This report, written by USOCA, presents the findings of the delegation and places them in the context of the current international situation of Nicaragua.”

Dunkerley 1988: “The election of 4 November 1984” (page 279). Gives election results.

Electoral democracy under international pressure 1990: “The FSLN ticket of Daniel Ortega and Sergio Ramírez won 67 percent of the vote, and the Sandinistas gained 61 of the 96 seats in the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente” (page 8). Gives seats won by all other parties.

The electoral process in Nicaragua 1984: “The 1984 elections represent a major departure in Nicaragua’s political history....While the Nicaraguan people have long desired democratic rule, for most of them the 1984 electoral process was their first experience with participatory democracy” (page 4). “Table 3" (page 17). Gives by party the number of votes (presidential) received, the percent these constitute of total votes cast, and the seats won.

Fiallos Oyanguren 2000: “La Asamblea Nacional electa en 1984 tuvo al mismo tiempo funciones constituyentes y legislativas ordinarias durante los dos primeros años de su mandato de seis años” (pages 247-248). “Las elecciones de 1984” (pages 253-256).

Figueroa Ibarra 1994: Describes the parties and coalitions involved in the 1984 election (pages 69-70).

Freeland 1988: “The 1984 elections” (pagex 60-62). Describes the results of the elections on the Atlantic coast. “In 1984, a Sumo representative, Aurelia Patterson, was elected to the National Assembly” (page 99).

Godoy Reyes 1992: Three parties withdrew from the election (page 184). Gives percent of vote and percent of congressional seats won by FSLN.

Goodman 1992: “Legislative assembly elections, Nicaragua, 1984" (page 379). Gives party and number of seats won.

Gorvin 1989: The CDN “boycotted the 1984 presidential and legislative elections, claiming that the Sandinistas were unwilling to relinquish power regardless of the outcome of the vote” (page 251). “Legislative and presidential election results 1984” (page 251). Gives the seats in the Constituent Assembly and the percentage of the presidential vote for seven parties.

Hale 1987: “In the November 1984 elections, Hazel Lau, the only high-level MISURASATA leader who remained in the country, ran as the FSLN candidate for the National Parliament, and won” (page 116).

Horton 1998: “Election results by department, 1984” (page 139).

Informe de la misión de observación 1990: Gives percent of valid vote and number of seats won by the FSLN, percent of valid votes won by all other parties, and percent of votes that were null (page 15).

Isbester 2001: “Women showed their appreciation for the government’s generosity and for its program of social justice by voting for it in the 1984 general election” (page 46). “(T)he election of 1984 truncated any leverage that AMNLAE may have had within the FSLN because the election consolidated the government’s power” (page 59). “Women decided the 1984 electon because they were the majority of the voters and the most undecided. Women formed 62 percent of the electorate and, according to the preelection polls, were less supportive of the FSLN than were men. The FSLN responded by shifting its campaign to reflect women and their needs…Of the representatives elected, 19.6 percent were women. Only one out of the thirteen elected women did not belong to the FSLN” (page 60). “During the next few years, however, the FSLN took advantage of its consolidation to remove women from positions of power and to return those positions to men” (page 61).

Jonas 1990: “The 1984 election: a ‘model of probity and fairness’” (pages 19-23).

Kuant 1990: “Political forces November 1984" (page 6). Gives “political forces,” candidates, and platforms. Gives percent of vote for FSLN, number/percent of votes for MAP-ML, percent of vote for PCD, and percent of vote and seats won by PLI (pages 6-7). “The elections and their results” (page 8). Gives percent of population that participated, number of polling stations, number registered to vote, total number of ballots cast, number of abstentions, number of null votes, and percent of vote/seats won by seven parties.

LeoGrande 1992: Gives percent of registered voters who participated, percent of presidential vote won by top four contenders, and percent of assembly vote/seats won by each party (page 191).

López Pintor 1991: “Resultados electorales de 1984 (elecciones presidenciales)” (page 331). Gives number of registered voters; number and percent of registered voters who voted; number and percent of votes cast that were valid or not valid; and number and percent of votes cast for seven parties.

Luciak 2001: “Women increased their representation on the 1984 FSLN candidate lists for the first democratic elections following the insurrection. That year, the FSLN presented 16 female candidates and 18 substitutes, 19 percent of the 180 candidates and substitutes it put forward for parliament” (page 207).

McIntire 1985: Gives number who registered to vote in July 1984, number and percent of these who voted, number of valid votes and percent these were of total votes cast, percent of valid vote for Sandinistas, percent of total vote for Ortega, and total congressional seats won by the opposition parties (page 52). Discusses the events surrounding the election of 1984 and gives the results.

Menjívar 1986: “Nicaragua: resultados elecciones presidenciales--1984" (page 58).

Merrill 1994: Gives percent of registered voters who voted, percent of votes and seats won by FSLN, and total seats won by conservative parties (page 46).

Navigating the electoral map 1989: “In 1984 the Coordinadora consisted of four parties and, in line with US policy at that time, abstained from the elections” (page 5).

Nicaragua: 10 años en cifras 1989: “Resultados de las elecciones nacionales del 4 de noviembre de 1984" (page 50). Gives the number of votes and percent of total votes for seven parties in the presidential and assembly elections, total valid votes, and total null votes.

Nicaragua ’s 1984 elections: a history worth the retelling 1990: Discusses the elections and circumstances surrounding them. Gives the focus of each participating party and lists their candidates (pages 27-28). Gives the percent of the valid votes for president for each party (page 30) and the number of seats in the National Assembly won by each party (page 31). “Of these, 13 were women (one Conservative and 12 Sandinistas).”

The 1990 elections in Nicaragua and their aftermath 1992: “Electoral results 1984 and 1990” (pages 222-226). Gives percent of valid votes and percent of registrants by department for FSLN, opposition, and abstention.

Olivera 1992: “Con anterioridad a 1984, en que las mujeres pudieron votar por primera vez sin ningún requisito, se exigía a las mujeres saber leer y escribir para poder votar” (page 143).

Ortega Hegg 2001: “En las elecciones para Presidente y Vicepresidente de la República y de Representantes ante la Asamblea Nacional del 4 de noviembre de 1984 participaron un total de siete partidos” (page 127). “Para las elecciones de 1984 las juntas directivas nacionales de los principales partidos políticos (10 a la época) tenían una integración de mujeres menor que la de los hombres…En gestión de Gobiernos Locales para 1984 existían 11 alcaldesas designadas de un total de 140 municipios, lo que representaba el 7.85% del total. En 1984 no hubo elecciones municipales y aún no se constituían las Regiones Autónomas del Atlántico, por lo que solo se celebraron elecciones presidenciales y de la Asamblea Nacional. En este último caso, de 96 representantes electos, 17 eran mujeres, para un 17.7% del total de electos en ese Poder del Estado” (page 132).

Payne 1985: Describes the election and its aftermath (pages 75-77). Gives official results.

Payne 1996: “In 1984, elections for president, vice president, and a National Assembly were held in what most generously can be described as a state-controlled plebiscite. FSLN Comandante Daniel Ortega was elected president and the FSLN took 61 seats in the 90-seat National Assembly” (pages 2-3).

A political opening in Nicaragua: report on the Nicaraguan elections of November 4, 1984 1984: “Election day procedures” (pages 37-43). “Impact of the war” (pages 44-46). “Interpreting the results” (pages 46-47). “ United States role in the Nicaraguan electoral process” (pages 47-49). “Results of the November 4th elections” (Annex X). “Allocation of National Assembly seats” (Annex XI).

Reding 1991: “The 1984 elections” (pages 26-28).

Robinson 1992: “The 1984 elections” (page 30-33).

Ryan 1995: “The 1984 elections” (pages 91-106).

Saint-Germain 1993: “Twelve of the 13 women elected to the Nicaraguan national legislature in 1984 were members of the FSLN” (page 129).

Smith 1993: “A coalition of right-wing parties including the Social Christians (PSC), the misleadingly named right-wing Social Democrats (PSD), and the Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC), calling itself the ‘Democratic Coordinating Committee’ (Coordinadora), decided to abstain from the elections on the grounds that the opposition parties had been given insufficient ‘guarantees,’ and not enough time to prepare for the elections…The Coordinadora’s abstentionism was publicly supported by the US government, which hoped to challenge the legitimacy of the November elections by alleging that opposition sectors were not able to participate. But despite US intervention and the Coordinadora abstention seven political parties took part in the November elections. The three right-wing parties which put forward candidates were the [PCD, PLI, and PPSC]. The three opposing left-wing parties were the [PSN, PCdeN, and MAP-ML]” (pages 148-149). Describes the election and the results (page 149-150).

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “1984 presidential results” (page 83). Gives party, number of votes and percent of valid votes in the presidential election, and number of seats won in the assembly election.

Tenorio 1996: “Según la encuesta realizada por CENZONTLE, en estas elecciones [de 1984] el 90% de la población femenina ejerció su derecho al voto, estimándose un 10% de abstención…De manera directa la participación política de las mujeres para cargos de elección popular en esta contienda electoral fue poca, pero lograron ocupar algunos escaños en el Consejo de Estado y la mayoría eran mujeres del [FSLN]. La participación de las mujeres en esta contienda electoral, fue de movilización, propaganda, animadoras en los momentos y en los lugares que se esperaba la llegada de los candidatos presidenciales” (page 14).

Torres Rivas 1987: “Nicaragua. Elecciones presidenciales en 1984" (page 186). Gives for each party the total votes received and percent of valid vote, total vote, and registered voters. Gives total valid votes, null and blank votes, total voters, abstention, and registered voters, and gives percent these are of the valid votes, total votes, and registered voters.

Weaver 1991: “The 1984 elections” (pages 124-128).

Williams 1990: “On 4 November 1984, approximately 1.2 million Nicaraguans voted to elect a president and a National Assembly. The Sandinistas won a convincing 63% of votes cast, giving it both the presidency as well as an overwhelming majority in the Assembly” (page 15). “Initially, the Reagan administration was divided over the issue of whether the opposition should participate or not…A divided administration only complicated the efforts of the ‘Coordinadora’ to develop a coherent electoral strategy. The result was that two conflicting points of view arose, one favoring abstention and the other participation” (page 16). “While the ‘Coordinadora’ opted out of the 1984 elections (not without some internal dissension), six other opposition parties decided to stay in the contest” (page 17).

Williams 1994: “The November 1984 elections signaled the formal adoption of liberal democratic institutions and an increased emphasis on political parties. The new national assembly was to be composed exclusively of political party representatives; mass organizations would no longer enjoy formal representation” (page 178).

Woroniuk 1987: “A few numbers on women in Nicaragua” (pages 30-31). Under “politics and organization” (page 31) states that “53% of voters in the 1984 election were women.” Gives the number of women elected to the National Assembly in 1984 as representatives or alternates from each party.


Gurdian 1987: “On December 5, 1984, the National Autonomy Commission was inaugurated by the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction. The Commission was created with the mandate to elaborate an autonomy statute that would be presented to the National Assembly for inclusion in the new Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua. There were many and varied reactions to this official announcement, which coincided with the first round of talks between a Nicaraguan state delegation and the leadership of MISURASATA” (page 173).

Ortiz 1988: “The negotiations [with MISURASATA] began formally in December 1984, in Bogota, Colombia, with a number of foreign government representatives and non-governmental organizations, mostly of indigenous peoples, observing. Following the first meeting, the government announced the formation of a national commission to study the question of autonomy for the Atlantic Coast” (page 8).


Los evangélicos y el poder político en América Latina 1986: “En la actualidad el CEPAD está formado por 37 denominaciones miembros. Además, en las 14 oficinas regionales del CEPAD hay 24 denominaciones adicionales que aunque no son miembros de la Asamblea General participan activamente en los programas. Es así que de las 78 denominaciones evangélicas que se sabe existen en Nicaragua, 61 de ellas conforman el CEPAD. La mayor parte de los 425.000 evangélicos que se estima hay en Nicaragua pertenece a unas 15 denominaciones” (page 333).

Gorvin 1989: “In 1985 the CDN allied with the contra rebels” (page 251).

Kuant 1990: “During the discussion of the new constitution in 1985 the government began to reflect on the potential role of the municipalities in the political life of the country. The new constitution describes the municipalities in article 177 as: ‘autonomous without detriment to the faculties of the central government.’ The municipal governments will be elected by the people, through secret, free, direct, and universal suffrage, in accordance with the law, for a period of six years” (page 18).

Muñiz 1990: “Somoza’s PLN disintegrated after his flight in 1979, but in 1985 a number of figures who had been allied with Somoza to the end joined to form the Neo-Liberal Party (PALI)” (page 27).

Nicaragua ’s elections—a step toward democracy? 1989: The PAPC is founded in 1985 in a split from the PCDN (unpaged). The PALI is founded in 1985 in a split from the PLI (unpaged).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “Ascendido a Cardenal en 1985, Mons. Obando y Bravo devino en el líder principal de la oposición, sus declaraciones periódicas hacían eco de los reclamos anti-sandinistas y desató una persecución contra los organismos católicos pro-sandinistas acelerando así su separación del ámbito institucional…La política norteamericana contribuyó a reforzar el rol opositor de la jerarquía católica a través de financiamiento, propaganda y apoyo institucional” (page 282).


Close 1995: “When the Council of State closed its doors for the last time in 1984, it marked the end of Sandinista experiments with exotic representative forums” (page 52). “Representation in the Nicaraguan National Assembly, 1985-1990” (page 52). Gives the number of seats held by each party. In its first session (1985-1990) the National Assembly displayed the same strengths and weaknesses as did the Council of State” (page 53).

Payne 1985: On January 9, 1985 the “National Assembly was installed” (page 82). “By the end of January, the National Constituent Assembly had still not met since its installation, and opposition parties protested that the FSLN was implementing policy solely through executive order” (page 84).

Reding 1991: “On January 10, 1985, Daniel Ortega was sworn in as president of Nicaragua and Sergio Ramírez as vice president” (page 28).


Stahler-Sholk 1987: “The new National Assembly formed a Constitutional Commission in April 1985 that included representatives of the seven political parties” (page 82).


Freeland 1988: In May 1985 “representatives of all the ethnic groups, Mestizos, Miskitos, Sumos, Ramas, Creoles and Black Caribs, came together for the first time ever to discuss their problems, their aspirations and their sense of their own history…This seminar generated a revised working document: ‘Policies and Principles for the Exercise of the Rights of Autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua’…After the seminar, the three Commissions [one each from North and South Zelaya and a national commission] merged into a single 80-member Autonomy Commission, to steer the rest of the autonomy process” (page 67).

Gurdian 1987: Discusses the May meetings of the National Autonomy Commission and the document they produce (pages 178-182).

Isbester 2001: “In 1985, the United States began a trade embargo against Nicaragua, closed its Nicaraguan consulates, and withdrew landing rights for the Nicaraguan airline” (page 55).

Ortiz 1988: “Regarding the process that took place between the publication of the principles in mid-1985 and the legislation on autonomy promulgated two years later, it cannot be denied that coastal participation in continual local, regional and national meetings was impressive. It is doubtful that a single community was neglected in the consultations which took place” (page 9).

Robinson 1992: In May 1985 the “White House declares a trade embargo against Nicaragua” (page 292).


Freeland 1988: “On 14 June 1985, Comandante Tomás Borge…took over as President of the Autonomy Commission, and launched the National Consultation Process” (page 72).

Ortiz 1988: “During June 1985, the first displaced Miskitos from the Coco River border villages began returning to reconstruct the war-torn homeland. Nearly all Miskitos who had been displaced within Nicaragua were back in their original villages by the end of 1985” (page 8).


Ortiz 1988: “(I)n both the northern and southern zones of the Atlantic Coast, spontaneous commissions on autonomy were formed representing all sectors of the coastal population. These commissions received official recognition in July 1985, and the members of the original five-member commission became advisers to a new consolidated body of eighty coastal representatives” (page 9).

Smith 1993: “In June and July [1985], Vice-President Sergio Ramírez embarked on a tour of Latin America in an effort to retake the initiative for peace and revive active support for the peace process. As a result of this visit, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay agreed to create a support group for the Contadora process, the ‘ Lima group.’ Collectively the Contadora and Lima Groups became known as the ‘Group of 8.’ Attempts by the United States to enlarge the group to include the more pro-US Ecuador and the Dominican Republic were unsuccessful” (page 275).


Close 1988: “In September 1985, the Contras’ leadership tried to bring the various Indian tendencies together…Out of this emerged a new organization, Kisan (the Miskito acronym for Nicaraguan Coast Indian Unity), which was to join the ONU (United Nicaraguan Opposition—the main Contra body) and reject dialogue with the Nicaraguan government. Within a month, however, a pro-negotiations faction, Kisan Pro-Peace, had emerged and was pursuing its own agenda” (page 57).

Freeland 1988: “In September 1985 Fagoth attempted an internal coup, kidnapping members of Council of Elders. Belligerent factions of MISURA and MISURASATA merged into a new umbrella organization, KISAN” (page 60). KISAN (Union of Coastal Indians of Nicaragua) is formed to “bring divided MISURA and MISURASATA pro-war factions under one US-controlled umbrella…Persuaded to affiliate to UNO” (page 62).


Stahler-Sholk 1987: “By 1985, when the state of emergency was renewed, the contra war had already caused 25,000 casualties, provoked economic losses equivalent to a full year’s production, and was absorbing about half the government budget” (page 88).

Williams 1994: “Citing the U.S. trade embargo of May 1985 and Congress’s approval of $27 million in ‘nonlethal’ aid to the contras the following month, the government reimposed the state of emergency in October 1985” (page 177).


Brysk 2000: “(S)ome Miskito, such as the faction led by Steadman Fagoth,…[sought] to overthrow the Sandinista state through armed struggle in alliance with the U.S.-backed contras in Honduras…At the peak of the conflict in 1986, the U.S. Congress provided $5 million in funding to the Miskito organization MISURASATA…But many Miskito supporters later rebelled against the level of U.S. control of these forces” (page 114). “In 1986 an agreement was reached on autonomy for the Atlantic Coast” (page 11).

McConnell 1997: “In 1986 the FSLN had used its constitutional majority in the legislature to allow presidential re-election even though all the other parties objected” (page 54).


Smith 1993: “(T)he first of the meetings of the Central American presidents, held at the suggestion of the Nicaraguans,…took place in Esquipulas, Guatemala, in May 1986…The meeting produced little of substance, save a commitment that the Central American presidents would continue to meet, and an agreement to create a Central American parliament” (page 277).


Country profile. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1988-1989: Edén Pastora “laid down his arms in June 1986, leading to the disintegration of his organization, [ARDE], and the virtual closure of the contras’ Costa Rican front” (page 12).

Robinson 1992: In June 1986 a “$100 million contra aid package is approved by U.S. Congress. The contras escalate military attacks. The International Court of Justice rules that the United States is in breach of international law on multiple accounts for aggressions against Nicaragua” (page 292).


Isbester 1999: An AMNLAE “National Assembly was convened in September 1986. It was attended by hundred of women who then formally passed resolutions calling for what they had already agreed on in local meetings. The FSLN, which had sponsored the meetings, complied with the women’s demands” (page 191).


Robinson 1992: “The capture of U.S. mercenary Eugene Hasenfus in southern Nicaragua in October 1986 opened a Pandora’s box of revelations on the actual conduct of Reagan policy, including the secret sale of weapons to Iran and diversion of profits to the contras, among other schemes for sustaining the anti-Sandinista campaign” (page 33).


Smith 1993: “By the end of 1986 domestic political developments within the United States were making the immediate prospect of a direct US intervention less likely. The Contragate scandal broke on 25 November 1986, when US Attorney Ed Meese announced that the National Security Council had been diverting money from secret arms sales to Iran to clandestine support for the contras” (page 278).


Dunkerley 1996: “The main thrust of the Esquipulas Accords signed by the Central American presidents on 7 August 1987 was to demobilise the contras” (page 65).

Brysk 2000: “By 1987, U.S. aid had passed from the CIA to the State Department, which sponsored an assembly to unite the Miskito factions of MISURASATA, MISURA, and KISAN into YATAMA—but the movement ultimately defied its U.S. sponsors by negotiating with the Sandinista authorities” (page 114).

Elections on the Atlantic Coast: where politics moves on slippery turf 1997: “YATAMA was created in 1987—with CIA bungling and US State Department fixing—as a military organization to unify and subsume the others under a triumvirate leadership scheme” (page 32).

Hale 1994: “By the end of 1987, the once formidable military challenge posed by Miskitu antigovernment combatants had receded dramatically, and the ethnic question had returned largely to the civic arena” (page 29).

Isbester 1999: “The FSLN’s control over the women’s movement became untenable after AMNLAE’s 1987 Second Assembly. Basing its platform on the 600 public forums and the constitutional debates, AMNLAE decided to strike a course independent of the FSLN. However, at the Second Assembly, high-ranking members of the FSLN publicly resisted women’s new demands…From then until 1991 the relationship between the FSLN and the women’s movement became increasingly fractious” (page 193).

Isbester 2001: “In 1987, high-ranking Sandinista women created a women’s collective called the Party of the Erotic Left (PIE) in an attempt to poke fun at the FSLN as much as to offer a political message. Technically speaking, it was the first fully independent group, although, given that every member was a Sandinista, the reality of that autonomy must be questioned. Furthermore, it had no detailed platform for change and did not actively engage in mobilizing women” (page 85).

Kampwirth 2004: “(T)he [PIE] was formed [in 1987]. It served as a sort of internal lobby and it was this group that had promoted the public meetings to debate the Constitution and that waged the fight with the FSLN for the women’s proclamation” (page 37).

Muñiz 1990: “A 1987 split in the PSC resulted in the creation of the [PAN]” (page 27).

Stahler-Sholk 1987: “By 1987 total casualties reached 40,000. The boundaries of legitimate political competition in Nicaragua tended to be blurred by U.S. support for both the armed contra forces and the internal bourgeois opposition” (page 88).


Brysk 2000: “ Nicaragua’s 1987 grant of autonomy to its Atlantic region dramatically altered the legal and political status of its indigenous peoples. The indigenous groups, which comprise at most 6 percent of the country’s population, now control 47 percent of its territory through the Northern and Southern Autonomous Atlantic Regions. The Miskito and Sumo of the northern region have their own political party, YATAMA, derived from an Indian rights movement” (page 262).

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 21 1987: “A new Constitution, approved by the National Assembly on 19 November 1986, was promulgated on 9 January 1987. The Constitution provides for legislative power to be exercised by a National Assembly of 90 members elected by universal, direct and secret suffrage. Consisting of 202 Articles, the Constitution also guarantees various civil liberties which can, however, be suspended by the President of the Republic during a state of emergency. Although the Constitution technically brought the existing state of emergency to an end, it was re-imposed shortly after promulgation” (page 16).

Electoral democracy under international pressure 1990: “The 1987 Nicaraguan constitution provides for the election of a president and vice president, a national assembly, 131 municipal councils, and two 45-member regional councils for the two Atlantic Coast autonomous regions” (page 11). “The municipal elections were designed with the hope of advancing democracy at local levels. This aspect of electoral politics, new to Nicaragua with these elections, is part of the process of decentralizing government planning and decision-making that began in 1979" (page 13).

Gorvin 1989: “The unicameral legislature is elected...at the same time as the President and Vice-President. It consists of 90 members, plus each of the defeated presidential candidates. The 90 delegates are elected from among contending party lists from multi-member districts. Each party’s share of these 90 delegate seats is apportioned according to its percentage of valid Assembly votes...According to the 1987 Constitution, all Nicaraguans 16 years of age or older are entitled to vote” (page 250).

Payne 1996: The new constitution “provided for the election every six years of a president, vice president, and National Assembly” (page 3).

Smith 1993: “The constitution which became law on 9 January 1987, marked a significant improvement in the legal status of women in Nicaragua” (page 205). Describes the changes.

Spalding 1996: “In 1987 the Sandinista government oversaw the completion of a new constitution under which the country was governed until reforms were promulgated in 1995. This constitution provided for the direct election, by simple plurality, of the president and vice-president, a unicameral legislature, and a network of municipal councils. In recognition of the ethnic distinctiveness of the Atlantic Coast population, the constitution included provisions for coastal autonomy; governance of the Atlantic Coast region was delegated in most matters to two forty-five-member regional councils” (page 5).


Country profile. Nicaragua , Costa Rica, Panama 1988-1989: “(I)n March 1987, following the resignation of Arturo Cruz, one of its three leaders, UNO was restructured and became the Resistencia Nicaraguense (RN)” (page 12).


Butler 1997: “There were also heated debates about whether to permanently divide the region and what to call it. Largely due to a lack of communication infrastructure, it remained divided” (page 225).

Close 1988: “In April 1987, 220 representatives of the six coastal ethnic communities (Miskito, Sumu, Rama, Garifona, Creole, and Mestizo) approved the text of what will almost certainly become the autonomy law. It creates two autonomous regions…A council of between thirty and fifty members will be elected in each region” (page 58).

Freeland 1988: “At the end of April 1987, 240 delegates representing every Atlantic coast community and every ethnic group came together in Puerto Cabezas in a Multi-Ethnic Assembly, to discuss, amend, and ratify the final draft of this [autonomy] Statute” (page 78).


Smith 1993: “On 7 August 1987 the five presidents [of Central America] signed the ‘Procedure for the Establishment of a Strong and Lasting Peace in Central America’—more commonly known as the ‘Esquipulas II’ peace agreement…The Esquipulas Accords received widespread international support. They were supported by among others, the Group of 8, the UN and OAS secretary generals, the European Community, Canada and the Socialist countries” (page 279).


Freeland 1988: “On 2 September, 1987…the Assembly unanimously voted the Statute into law” (page 79). Reproduces text in English of the “Atlantic Coast Autonomy Law” (pages 113-121).

Prevost 1997: The 1987 Autonomy Statute “guarantees the rights of the indigenous groups to their own language, culture, and communal forms of land ownership…Also established were regional governmental assemblies with direct representation from each ethnic group” (page 13).


Booth 1998a: “Armed conflict between the Contras and the revolutionary government ended with the 1988 Sapoa cease-fire, an outgrowth of the 1987 Central American (Esquipulas) Peace Accord” (page 190).

Close 1995: “Although the government attempted to change the electoral system in 1988 to strengthen larger parties (and stem the proliferation of microparties that began after the signing of the Esquipulas Accords in August 1987), it was unable to do so” (page 53).

Dunbar-Ortiz 1990: “In 1988, in response to the Central American peace accords, the remnants of MISURASATA and MISURA/KISAN in Honduras, Costa Rica and Miami reorganized as YATAMA, uniting Fagoth and Rivera” (page 18).

Muñiz 1990: “The [ MUR] was founded in 1988 by dissidents from all the left-wing parties, including the FSLN” (page 27).

Nicaragua ’s elections—a step toward democracy? 1989: The PDCN and PAN are founded in 1988 in a split from the PSC (unpaged). The PSOC is founded in 1988 by several contra leaders (unpaged). The PLIUN is founded in 1988 by liberals in the PLI (unpaged). The MUR is founded in 1988 as a new Marxist party by defectors from the MAP-ML, PC de N, and FSLN (unpaged).

Smith 1993: Ex-FSLN member, Moisés Hassán, founds the Movement of Revolutionary Unity (MUR) (page 24). “By 1988 there were some 23 different political parties in Nicaragua” (page 154). “About half a million Nicaraguans were members of the Protestant faith by 1988 and many of these were supporters of the evangelical sects that mushroomed in numbers since the revolution” (page 157).

January 15

Merrill 1994: At the summit of Central American presidents Ortega agrees “to hold direct talks with the Contras, to lift the state of emergency, and to call for national elections” (page 48).


Fiallos Oyanguren 2000: “La Ley Electoral del 25 de abril de 1988 desarrolló los detalles del sistema de elección” (page 248).

Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 22 September 1988: “Representatives of all the opposition parties, with the exception of the largest, the Partido Conservador Democrata de Nicaragua (PCD), refused to participate in the assembly debate on the law which, they said, is basically anti-democratic and anti-pluralist” (Latinnews.com).


Grigsby Vado 2003: “In 1988, the National Assembly approved the first Municipalities Law (Law 40), whose article 18 established that ‘the government and the administration of the municipalities correspond to a Municipal Council, which has a deliberative, normative and administrative character. The Council will be presided over by a mayor elected from within.’ Article 19 added: ‘The Municipal Council will be elected by the people through universal, equal, direct, free and secret suffrage in accord with the Electoral Law’” (page 20).

Municipal autonomy in Nicaragua 1990: “The July 1988 Municipal Law specifies the functioning, rights and duties of municipal councils...The new municipal councils function somewhat like the old ‘cabildos,’ electing the mayor from among its members” (page 36).

Municipalities: where democracy is born 1997: “1988: The FSLN government passed the Municipal Law, the most elaborate and valuable political-legal resource in the history of Nicaragua’s municipalitities. Municipal Councils were established and their responsibilities detailed, opening the way for municipalities to take on all the obligations they could handle” (page 21).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “(L)a ley de Municipios (1988)…estableció la elección directa (período 6 años) del Consejo Municipal, máxima autoridad local de carácter pluralista, cuyos miembros eligen al Alcalde de su seno y pueden removerlo” (page 291).

Traña Galeano 2000: “Con la aprobación de la nueva Constitución de la República en 1987, se inicia un proceso de transformación y reacomodo del Derecho Municipal, aprobándose el 2 de julio del año siguiente la Ley de Municipios (Ley No. 40), que restablece la autonomía municipal…Conforme a la Ley 40, sin embargo, el Alcalde sería elegido en forma directa por los miembros de un Consejo Municipal que sí sería elegido en forma directa” (page 182).


Envío November 1989: “Each party filed its national slate of candidates on September 29, although most parties have yet to announce their municipal candidates. The Nicaraguan population will be able to choose from four broad political options in February: the UNO, which wants to roll back and essentially destroy the revolution; the center parties, which seek to reform the revolution; the left wing parties whose goal is to redefine the revolution; and the FSLN, which aims to consolidate its longstanding revolutionary program” (page 5). Describes each group (pages 5-6).

Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 1 December 1988: “In late September [ Eden] Pastora met Erick Ramirez, leader of the Partido Social Cristiano (PSC), the largest of the parties within the Coordinadora Democratica, the right-wing opposition alliance which refused to participate in the 1984 elections. At the meeting in San Jose it was agreed to join forces and create a ‘centrist opposition bloc’” (Latinnews.com).


Envío October 1989: The electoral law “sets out the electoral districts for the coast and the concrete mechanisms to guarantee the election of at least one representative of every ethnic community to the Regional Council—as the governing structure is called—in their respective region” (page 18).

Fiallos Oyanguren 2000: “(E)l sistema [de elección] ha sido reformado por la Ley Electoral del 18 de octubre de 1988” (page 247).

Latin American regional reports. Caribbean & Central America 22 September 1988: “The new law, which contains 217 articles and is to be published in the official ‘La Gazeta’ in late October, calls for the establishment of a supreme electoral council, made up of five judges, of which three are to be members of the Sandinista party, one of the PCD, and the fifth of any of the other parties represented in the national assembly” (Latinnews.com).

A new electoral law—for a stronger opposition 1988: “The new electoral law, with its 215 articles, supersedes and combines two existing provisional laws: a 1983 one governing political parties and the 1984 electoral law. It stipulates legal procedures for presidential and legislative elections…, as well as for municipal elections, elections for the autonomous Regional Councils of the Atlantic Coast and any future referendums or plebiscites. It also covers the election of Nicaragua’s representatives to the Cental American Parliament. The new law also provides guidelines for the formation of political parties” (page 24). “Composition of National Assembly” (page 24). Gives number of Assembly seats held by each party.

Samper 1998: Describes the electoral law (pages 193-194, 196-197).

Setting up the rules of the game— Nicaragua’s reformed electoral law 1989: “The new electoral law, which took effect in October 1988, contained three principal differences from the law governing the 1984 elections. First, it covered not only presidential and legislative elections, but for the first time set the ground rules for municipal elections, elections for Regional Councils for the Autonomous Regions of the Atlantic Coast, and the selection of deputies for the soon-to-be-established Central American Parliament. Second, it incorporated the Law of Political Parties and elevated it to constitutional status…Third, it tightened the rules governing legislative elections to favor the larger parties” (page 26). “Electoral laws: a comparison” (pages 33-34).


Country report. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1989, 1: “In mid-October Alfredo César, one of the seven contra directors, announced the formation of a new front, the Coalition of the Democratic Centre (CCD), made up of five of the parties which comprise the contras. The new grouping was formed as a response to Colonel Enrique Bermúdez’s growing domination of the Resistencia Nicaragüense (RN), the contra coalition, and rejects the military option in favour of negotiations with the Sandinista government and a return to participation in domestic politics” (page 12).

Envío November 1989: “In accord with the agreement signed by the country’s 21 political parties on August 4, the registration process for the February elections was set for the first four Sundays of October” (page 4). Describes the process and the results.


Country report. Nicaragua , Costa Rica, Panama 1989, 1: “The municipal elections scheduled for early this year have been postponed until 1990. According to the economy minister…hurricane damage to the economy has been so great that the country cannot afford two rounds of elections, and the municipal elections will now take place at the same time as presidential and legislative elections” (page 12).

Dunbar-Ortiz 1990: “In the fall of 1989, YATAMA returned to Nicaragua to join the election campaign under the leadership of Brooklyn Rivera and Steadman Fagoth” (page 18).

Isbester 2001: “(I)n 1989 AMNLAE’s primary goal was to assist in the reelection of the FSLN. The semiautonomous women’s organizations joined AMNLAE to help in the election campaign” (page 96).

Kampwirth 2004: “The leaders of the FSLN knew [the 1990 presidential election] would be a tough election to win and they panicked when it seemed that their women might be slipping out of control…So instead of electing their national director, the women of AMNLAE were assigned a new director by the top officials of the party, a director who was sure to be more loyal to the party than to the feminist dissidents within the women’s movement…The new director, Doris Tijerino, a commander in the guerrilla war and later chief of police, was thrust into a very difficult position” (pages 37-38).

Municipalities: where democracy is born 1997: “1989: The FSLN government passed the Law of Political Administrative Division of Nicaragua and created the Nicaraguan Institution of Municipal Promotion” (page 21).

Muñiz 1990: “In 1989 Fernando Agüero led a split from the PAPC and founded the [PSOC]…In 1989 Hernaldo Zúñiga led a split from the PCDN to create the [PANC], which was denied legal recognition because it lacked substantial party structures” (page 27).

Orozco 2002: “When Ortega announced he would move the election date, the U.S. invested resources to create a unified opposition that could defeat the FSLN. Bringing the opposition together occurred at two levels or fronts. First, the U.S. attempted to unify the internal opposition parties, particularly those who had previously been aligned with each other. Second, it recognized that the opposition should contact the ‘armed’ opposition (contras) and establish alliances” (page 84). “ U.S. funding for the Nicaraguan elections” (page 85).

Vargas 1999: “La campaña electoral de 1989” (pages 53-57).


González-Roura 1990: “(C)omo consecuencia de los acuerdos de Costa del Sol—también llamados Esquipulas IV—celebrados en El Salvador los días 13 y 14 de febrero de 1989 por los presidentes de Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua en el marco de las reuniones periódicas iniciadas en Esquipulas, Guatemala, en mayo de 1986, en procura de una solución política a la crisis centroamericana, el gobierno sandinista se comprometió a adelantarlas para el 25 de febrero de 1990” (page 17).

The observation of the 1996 Nicaraguan elections: a report of the Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government 1996: “In February 1989, in exchange for regional support for the demobilization of the contras, President Daniel Ortega proposed moving up the elections scheduled for November 1990 to February 1990. The government invited the United Nations and the [OAS], along with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center’s Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government, to observe all stages of the election and report their findings to the world. Eager to end the U.S. trade embargo and support for the contras, the Sandinistas wanted to carry out an open and honest election to erase any doubts about the legitimacy of their government” (page 14).

Williams 1990: “Beginning in February 1989, the government held a series of bilateral talks with opposition parties to discuss reforms to the electoral and media laws” (page 21).


Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 23 1989: “The National Assembly passed an electoral reform law on 18 April 1989. Under this law, the Assembly selects a five-member Supreme Electoral Council to oversee general elections from a list of candidates drawn up by the President of the Republic. Another provision allows expatriates to register overseas to vote but requires them to return to Nicaragua to cast their ballots” (page 14).

Fiallos Oyanguren 2000: Electoral law is revised April 25, 1989 (page 247).

Smith 1993: “(B)y April 1989 all the opposition parties had agreed that they should field a joint candidate for the presidency in the upcoming 1990 elections” (page 155).


Close 1995: “The UNO began as an electoral alliance, bringing together most of those who opposed the Frente for any reason. Thus, it harbored Socialists, Communists, Liberals, Conservatives, Christian Democrats, and Central American integrationists” (page 55).

Kagan 1996: “At the end of June the 14 parties formally united into the Nicaraguan Opposition Union (UNO) and pledged to support a single government platform and single slate of candidates for president and vice president in the 1990 elections” (page 658).

Kuant 1990: “The CSE [Supreme Electoral Council] was established on June 7, 1989 and is the fourth legislative branch of the state” (page 15).


Envío September 1989: “At the close of a marathon National Dialogue, the Nicaraguan government and the opposition political parties signed a crucial series of agreements dealing with the electoral process on Thursday morning, August 4…The accord deals with all aspects of the electoral process, ranging from modifications of the electoral law to a government agreement to suspend the military draft from September 1 through the elections next February” (page 17). Describes the issues raised by parties’ representatives during the National Dialogue and reproduces the final document.

Envío December 1989: “Vía Cívica…calls itself a patriotic, civic, non-partisan get out the vote organization, yet is closely tied to the US-supported Nicaraguan opposition, UNO. What is publicly known about Vía Cívica, without even digging deep, clearly implicates the organization in US destabilization efforts masked as promotion of democracy…Vía Cívica announced its formation at a press conference in mid-August of this year ” (page 11).

Establishing the ground rules: a report on the Nicaraguan electoral process 1989: “Legal political parties in Nicaragua (as of August, 1989)” (pages 23-24).

Muñiz 1990: “In order to reach a political consensus on the election process before the registration of candidates began on August 25, President Ortega convened a conference with representatives of all 21 parties on August 3, 1989. This conference, called the National Dialogue, ran for more than 22 consecutive hours and culminated in a political agreement signed by President Ortega and 18 of the 21 parties in attendance, including the FSLN” (page 9).


Metoyer 2000: UNO “was an electoral alliance of fourteen parties with three political tendencies. The strongest tendency was the ‘ultraderechistas,’ the far right, and the right block that was organized with extensive assistance from the U.S. State Department. UNO included all but one of ten right-wing parties, as well as the center-right [PLI], the centrist [ANC], the center-left [PSN], the [PPSC], and the [PCdeN]. UNO’s only common goal was to defeat the Sandinistas at the polls…When it came time to select the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, UNO was sharply divided. Four parties favored Enrique Bolaños, who was closely associated with the ultraderechistas, and four other parties supported Virgilio Godoy, who vacillated between the left and the right. In the end, neither candidate was acceptable to all of the parties, and both were considered unsuited to mount an effective challenge to the popularity of Daniel Ortega…Violeta Chamorro emerged from the intense struggle as a viable candidate for the UNO coalition” (page 41).

Muñiz 1990: “The legal basis of the existing electoral system is the Electoral Law, as amended in February and September 1989” (page 9). Summarizes the main points of the law.

Navigating the electoral map 1989: “After days of conflictive debate, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (not officially affiliated with any party) and Virgilio Godoy (Independent Liberal Party) were chosen on September 2 to challenge Sandinista power. But their nomination, rather than quiet the waters, provoked more bitter polemics than the selection process itself had” (page 3). Describes the divisions within UNO and the nomination process.

Nicaragua ’s elections—a step toward democracy? 1989: “On September 8, 1989, UNO formally registered for the upcoming elections as an opposition alliance consisting of twelve parties, but one subsequently dropped out” (unpaged). Chart describes UNO parties with their leadership and background.

Olivera 1992: “En septiembre, la creación de la Unión Nacional Opositora, que contó con unos 26 millones de dólares en respaldo financiero de instituciones como el Nacional Endowment for Democracy y la CIA, para mencionar dos de ellas, juntó a 14 partidos de diferentes ideologías para intentar terminar con el proyecto revolucionario” (page 144).

Robinson 1992: “According to UNO rules, the fourteen parties would elect candidates for president and vice president through separate rounds of voting in which each candidate would need the approval of at least ten parties” (page 57). Describes the voting (pages 57-58).


Observing Nicaragua’s elections, 1989-1990: report of the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government 1990: “Nicaraguan voter registration by region --1989" (page 68). Gives registrants by day in October 1989 and total for the month in each region.

Olivera 1992: “En octubre de 1989 el gobierno de los EEUU había renovado el embargo económico para dar aún más énfasis a la severa crisis económica en Nicaragua” (page 144).

Williams 1994: “In October 1989 the U.S. Congress approved $9 million for the ‘promotion of democracy’ in Nicaragua, to match a $5 million grant set aside for the opposition earlier in the year. Although the aid was not to be used to fund the electoral campaign of the conservative coalition UNO, the Bush administration constructed an elaborate network through which the funds were channeled to UNO-linked organizations” (pages 179-180).