Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 05:51:39 -0500
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Daniel asks for recount, other parties impune
From El Nuevo Diario, (Managua), 22 October 1996
Translated by Toby Mailman
Daniel Ortega Saavreda, presidential candidate for the FSLN, said he does not recognize the preliminary results emited by the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) on the results of the October 20 elections because they are full of anomolies, above all in the reports received by the CSE. [Each polling place was to send a telegram or otherwise communicate the ballot count to the CSE as soon as they were counted, then later send the ballots with a copy of that message. Each party also had their own representatives to confirm the count at the polling place.]
Ortega referred to the telegrams with the information of the vote counts from the different polling stations around the country which the telephone company ENITEL passed directly to the National Computing Center.
He said his party had been doing a parallel count during the elections and found that among about 300,000 votes, some 60,000 were missing, a number which represents some 3 per cent of voters.
For this reason the FSLN formally requested that the CSE review the count from the different departments, starting with the number of votes indicated in each "act" [the document stating the number of votes], making sure that each "act" is appropriately signed by the parties' observers, and saying that it is there where the correct number of votes that were deposited in each polling station will be found.
"What we are proposing is that they fulfill what is established in the electoral law, since the CSE should not limit itself simply to counting the votes from the telegrams, but should fulfill the requirement of reviewing the acts and the telegrams and where they find a difference in votes, to make the corresponding correction," Ortega commented.
Daniel recalled that in the early morning hours of February 25, 1990, there was no doubt and he accepted the reports presented by the CSE, but that this time he does not recognize them, after having found a series of anomalies.
From the early morning, after the first report was made public by Dr. Rosa Marina Zelaya, president of the CSE, the FSLN candidate had announced his disagreement with the pointage, mentioning the word "anomalies," but also recoqnized that at that moment it was too early to make a categorical judgment.
However, he said he watched with great concern the precipitous and very secure victory celebration of the Liberal Alliance. He also said that during the parallel count which he party made, the FSLN appeared a little ahead of the Liberal Alliance.
Ortega mentioned that these kinds of anomalies had to do with the difficulties which the entire electoral process suffered and the slowness in the voting process, which also slowed down the count. He also said he was in agreement that the process should end in the best way, in a way which would strengthen peace and reconciliation.
Nonetheless he pointed out that it is necessary that the real number of votes deposited for the different parties, and specifically the FSLN, be established.
"It's important to say that we are not questioning the CSE's authority, but rather that we are finding irregularities, alterations in telegrams that were sent from the departments which do not really reflect the number of votes the FSLN got," he pointed out.
Daniel mentioned the case of Matagalpa, where the majority of parties are asking for the elections to be impuned...
Frans Van Hern, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and member of the European Union observer delegation, referring to the Sandinista candidate's statements, said that they had corroborated the tranparency of the electoral process, including the vote count.
For his part, Arnoldo Aleman, candidate for president of Nicaragua for the Liberal Alliance, referring to his political opponent's statements, said that what Daniel Ortega is attempting with the recount is to force a negotiation of "top levels."
"Commander Ortega would be violating the law, creating disorder, and I hope he will not do it, and that he has matured in his condition of statesman so as not to make his people suffer... [there has already been] too much blood and poverty," he commented, referring to the Sandinista candidate.
For his part former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said that the petition for a review and scrutiny made by Daniel Ortega is contained in the law and he as well as the rest of the candidates of the different parties have the right to receive a copy of all the acts from the polling stations to compare the totals with the computations issued by the CSE.
"If there are differences or anomalies, these will be investigated one by one," Carter said.
Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, Nobel Prize winner and electoral observer, said, making Carter's words his own, that all the parties have the right to recieve a copy of the acts amd make a comparison of the computations.
[under the same headline]
Presidential candidate for the Nicaraguan Christian Path (Camino Cristiano Nicaraguense), Guillermo Osorno, said yesterday [Oct. 21] that he will impune the results of Sunday's elections. Today [Oct. 22] Osorno will send a letter to the president of the Supreme Electoral Council, Rosa Marina Zelaya.
In Matagalpa fourteen parties, including Osoron's, denounced serious anomolies and tricks in the transmission of the figures to the Supreme Electoral Council, and demanded that the elections be verified in this northern department, where the Liberal candidate appeared to be winning in the same neighborhood where he had previously been chased out by a shower of stones, be nullified.
Also in Matagalpa the Communist Party candidate Dora Elena Orozco charged that the vote deposited by her party in the polling place near her house was "disappeared." "At the very least my vote should appear in the count of this polling place, but not even that," she affirmed.
"We don't go along with the results and the deficiencies of the CSE," candidate Osorno said in Managua. "Some of the computations appear different from the telegrams sent to the computing center," he argued.
"It's certain that there was fraud here," the religious candidate said.
Osorno was pleased that his party was shown to be the third political force in these elections. Nonetheless, he said the difference of the numbers of votes with the stronger parties showed up greater than they really were.
"How is it possible that parties such as those of Panchito [Francisco Mayorga],[Noel] Vidaurre, and UNO-96 [presidential candidate Alfredo Cesar] appear with so few votes," he asked. Among the irregularities cited by Osorno, he mentioned that a taxi had been found in Managua with 290 ballots for his party's candidate for the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN).
He also said that the observers from his party were kicked out of the Douglas Sequeira school, one of the Managua polling stations.
"This is our first experience participating in elections, and its disillusioning," he said. "The elections should be anulled because these procedures did not give us any security," said the evangelical leader...
Representatives of 14 political parties said everything that happened before and on October 20 a joke on the Nicaraguan people by the Liberal Alliance, affirming that the electoral process was full of irregularities, anomalies, bad administration, delays and nulling of documents.
In a letter that was sent to international observers the complainants said that there were delays, nulling of voting documents and lack of electoral ballots which caused confusion at the polling stations...They said there had been fraud orchestrated in collaboration with the departmental CSE president Alberto Blandon Baldizon.
The representatives of the 14 parties who signed the letter said that on October 20 the plan was concretized, reflected in the selective lack of electoral ballots, and said that it is known publicly that the telegrams notifiying the CSE of the ballot counts were interfered with by Liberal officials at the polling stations.
Thirteen of he parties who signed the letter are the FSLN, MAR, UNIDAD, Communist Party, PRONAL, UNO-96, MRS, PADENIC, PAD, Alianza Samuel 96, Conservative Party, Bread and Force, and PUNOCP.
All of the signatories said that various polling station officials changed the voting results of the department, so they are asking that the members of the Supreme Electoral Council act in accordance with the law and anull the elections in Matagalpa.