June 25, 2020, 5:35 PM
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaragua’s often fractious opposition formally united Thursday with an eye to ousting President Daniel Ortega in elections next year.
The formation of the National Coalition came one day after members of the Organization of American States met to discuss the deterioration of Nicaragua’s democracy under Ortega.
Representatives from a broad spectrum of political parties and civic organizations signed onto the coalition promising to “fight for justice, democracy and against the dictatorship,” inside a hotel surrounded by police vehicles and anti-riot police.
Luis Fley, a former commander of the U.S.-backed “Contras,” who fought Ortega’s Sandinistas in the 1980s, said the current moment reminded him of that earlier time with violations of human rights and basic freedoms and thousands of Nicaraguans living in exile.
Fley suggested the National Coalition would be an option in elections scheduled for 2021. He compared it to the National Opposition Union that brought President Violeta Chamorro to power in 1990, ending Ortega’s first run as president.
“We’re going to fight for the freeing of the political prisoners, a new Supreme Electoral Council, election reforms, believable and observed elections,” Fley said. “The (National Coalition) is not going to pact with the dictatorship.”