Caribbean coast prepares for elections

(March 1, 3:00 pm) — Concerns of another electoral fraud in the works are being raised by members of the opposition one day before Nicaragua’s disreputable Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) opens polls in the regional elections on the Caribbean coast.

The daily La Prensa reports that a backpack with more than 1,000 citizen identification cards (cédulas), most of which reportedly belong to members of the opposition Independent Liberal Party in the mining triangle town of Siuna, was found abandoned on the ground by an apparently inebriated member of the Sandinistas’ Council of Citizen Power (CPC) stumbled off without his belongings.

The newspaper also reported that members of the Sandinista activist group were trying to substitute opposition poll watchers, but the situation was allegedly rectified after the PLI complained publicly.

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The Sandinista-controlled CSE meanwhile says everything is ready for the March 2 elections, when some 300,000 registered voters will elect new regional authorities in the North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions (RAAN and RAAS, respectively).

Though the Caribbean coast is less populated that Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, it is home to half of country’s territory most of the country’s natural resources, including 70% of Nicaragua’s forest cover and a quarter of its mining operations.

The regional authorities elected this Sunday in the RAAS could also play an important role in Nicaragua’s future canal plans.

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