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Nicaragua

Yearbook 2007

Nicaragua. On January 10, the newly elected President Daniel Ortega was installed in his office. Some of his first steps were to lower his own salary by two-thirds and set up a commission, led by the respected Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, who will provide assistance to 300,000 victims of the civil war in the 1980s. At the heart of the domestic political debate during the year, however, was Ortega's proposal to set up so-called Citizens' Council to strengthen democracy, an institution clearly inspired by Hugo Chávez's "Bolivarian circles" in Venezuela. Opposition to the proposal became massive in Congress because it was suspected that the councils would be an extension of the presidential power and thus of the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) ruling party that had similar institutions in the 1980s, then called defense committees. According to the opposition, the country's institutional structure would thus be undermined. On November 21, however, the Congress approved a compromise proposal which was based on the fact that the Citizens' Council does come into being but cannot be financed with state funds or have any influence on any government agencies.

2007 Nicaragua

According to CountryAAH, the majority of the Congress behind the decision pointed to the fact that the unofficial pact that the FSLN signed with the Conservative PLC (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista) is about to crack. Ortega threatened to put the case before the Supreme Court, where the FSLN and PLC control as many of the lawyers as possible. General constitutional reform was also on Ortega's agenda. the introduction of parliamentarism and the possibility of incumbent presidents for direct re-election.

On September 4, Hurricane Felix struck with full force on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast with 50 days of rain and flooding of the Rio Grande River, and President Ortega declared a national disaster state. The death toll was around 200 and the number of homeless was 220,000. In addition, half of the entire Nicaragua agricultural crop was destroyed, and the UN Food and Agriculture Agency UNFAO warned that the country could be starved next year unless the government takes swift action.

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