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World > North America > Nicaragua > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Nicaragua - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Nicaragua is a constitutional democracy with executive, legislative, judicial, and electoral branches of government. In 1995, the executive and legislative branches negotiated a reform of the 1987 Sandinista constitution, which gave extensive new powers and independence to the legislature--the National Assembly--including permitting the Assembly to override a presidential veto with a simple majority vote and eliminating the president's ability to pocket-veto a bill.


The president and the members of the unicameral National Assembly are elected to concurrent 5-year terms. The National Assembly consists of 92 total deputies (90 elected from party lists drawn at the departmental and national levels, plus the outgoing president and the candidate who finishes second in the presidential race).

The Supreme Court supervises the functioning of the still largely ineffective, often partisan, and overburdened judicial system. In 2000, as part of the PLC-FSLN pact, the number or Supreme Court justices was increased from 12 to 16. Supreme Court justices are elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly. Led by a council of seven magistrates, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) is the co-equal branch of government responsible for organizing and conducting elections, plebiscites, and referendums. The magistrates and their alternates are elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly. Constitutional changes in 2000 expanded the number of CSE magistrates from five to seven and gave the PLC and the FSLN a freer hand to name party activists to the Council, prompting allegations that both parties were politicizing electoral institutions and processes and excluding smaller political parties.

Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by Nicaragua's constitution and vigorously exercised by its people. Diverse viewpoints are freely and openly discussed in the media and in academia. There is no state censorship in Nicaragua. Other constitutional freedoms include peaceful assembly and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement within the country, as well as foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation. The government also permits domestic and international human rights monitors to operate freely in Nicaragua. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on birth, nationality, political belief, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, national origin, and economic or social condition. All public and private sector workers, except the military and the police, are entitled to form and join unions of their own choosing, and they exercise this right extensively. Nearly half of Nicaragua's work force, including agricultural workers, is unionized. Workers have the right to strike. Collective bargaining is becoming more common in the private sector.

Political Parties
Five parties participated in the 2006 national elections (FSLN, ALN, PLC, MRS, and AC). The election resulted in the following distribution of the 92 seats in the National Assembly (installed January 9, 2007): FSLN--38; PLC--25; ALN--24; MRS--5.

Principal Government Officials
President--Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra
Vice President--Jaime Morales Carazo
Foreign Affairs Minister--Samuel Santos
Finance Minister--Alberto Jose Guevara Obregon
Minister of Industry and Commerce--Orlando Solorzano Delgadillo
Minister of Government--Ana Isabel Morales
Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense--Ruth Tapia Roa
Ambassador to the United States--Arturo Cruz, Jr.
Ambassador to the United Nations--Maria Eugenia Rubiales de Chamorro
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres

Nicaragua maintains an embassy in the United States at 1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-939-6570).


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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