Former Marxist revolutionary Daniel Ortega has won Nicaragua’s presidential election, according to preliminary results. Supporters set off fireworks and celebrated in the streets, waving party flags. It is Ortega’s third attempted comeback since he was ousted in 1990 by Nicaraguans tired of a brutal civil war and deep economic crisis.
Ortega led a 1979 revolution, building an alliance with the Soviet Union and Cuba and turning his country into a Cold War battleground. With eight out of 10 people living on two dollars a day or less, many in Nicaragua believe Ortega is the only candidate who can bring about change.
But this ally of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a source of great concern for Washington which has warned Nicaragua of possible investment cuts if Ortega returns to power. Venezuelan backing, on the other hand, would mean low oil prices. Turnout was high according to observers who reported no major irregularities.