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Nicaragua Government Takes Over Five Opposition-Held Towns | World News

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Four months before scheduled municipal elections, Nicaraguan riot police have seized the city halls of five municipalities held by an opposition party.

Prior to last year’s presidential election, Kitty Monterey, president of Citizens for Freedom, a political party banned by the Nicaraguan government, had confirmed police presence in San Sebastian de Yali, El Quয়াa, Mura and El Almendro.

Oscar Gadia Tinoco, mayor of Pantasma and a member of Citizens for Freedom, also said police had seized his town on Saturday.

“All legitimately elected mayoral offices under the flag of citizens for freedom have been taken over by the regime,” Monterey said via Twitter on Monday. He claimed that President Daniel Ortega would respect the welfare of officials and mayors removed from office.

Every town hall won the Citizens for Freedom 2017 election. But in last year’s presidential election, President Daniel Ortega showed little tolerance for the opposition. Authorities have detained seven top opposition figures who could have challenged Ortega for the presidency.

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Instead, Ortega ran for a fourth term in a row as the United States and the European Union dismissed him as a farce and detained opposition figures.

The Nicaraguan government has not commented on the takeover.

Noel Moreno, the ousted mayor of northwestern Nicaragua’s San Sebastian de Yali, said about 50 heavily armed riot police and members of the Ortega Sandinista National Liberation Front entered the city office early Monday.

“The seat is under the control of the riot police,” Moreno said, adding that he was not there when police arrived. He wasn’t sure if city workers stayed inside or were evacuated.

He said Sandinista city council members “have already named their mayors and vice-mayors” and raised the Sandinista flag. The takeover seems to have been similar to other municipalities.

At Pantasma, Gaddafi Tinoco said Sandinista councilor Carmen Obando was named as his successor. The argument was that the citizen was no longer a recognized entity for independence because the Nicaraguan electoral authorities revoked its status last year.

After the party was canceled, Monterey was also stripped of his Nicaraguan nationality and charged with staying in the country illegally. He fled into exile in Costa Rica.

Of Nicaragua’s 153 municipalities, the Ortega Sandinista Front now controls 140. The two allied teams controlled the remaining 13.

Opposition groups called for a boycott of the open ballot box, a civic election monitoring network. They wished well to the workers of the municipality.

“They don’t want anyone to participate in this election,” Moreno said.

In a statement, Monterey called the takeover “a very serious attack on popular will and municipal autonomy.”

“Through these measures the regime is ensuring that it has no interest in rehabilitating the electoral path or even trying to maintain legitimacy in the next municipal elections,” he said.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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