Daniel Ortega, the revolutionary Marxist who fought off a US-backed insurgency in the 1980s, appears to have won Nicaragua’s presidency. Preliminary results give Ortega around 40 percent of the vote, more than enough to avoid a run-off against his rival, former banker Eduardo Montealegre.
“We need to work together,” he told supporters, “to eradicate poverty in Nicaragua and bring security to the private sector and to national and international investors.”
Ortega has toned down his revolutionary rhetoric and says his main priority is to secure foreign investment to help ease widespread poverty in this nation of five and a half million where 80 percent of the population lives on two dollars a day or less. But Washington views this ally of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with concern and has warned of possible investment cuts if he wins. Turnout was high at around 70 percent and international observers said the vote was mainly peaceful.