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Nicaraguan President's Wife Tapped to be His Running Mate

Murillo already holds considerable power as chief government spokeswoman

Supporters of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega hold up sandinista flag during the celebrations for the 37th anniversary of the "Repliegue", photo: Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas
1 year ago

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan first lady Rosario Murillo was named Tuesday to be the running mate of her husband, Daniel Ortega, in his bid to win election to a third consecutive presidential term in Nov. 6 elections.

The governing Sandinista National Liberation Front party formally registered Murillo as its vice presidential candidate.

Murillo already holds considerable power as chief government spokeswoman. Even the red-and-black flags of the Sandinista revolution have been supplanted by the pink and baby blue colors she favors.

While Ortega occasionally appears in public, Murillo holds forth regularly on national television with a stream of rhetoric that blends socialism, New Age spirituality and Roman Catholicism.

Ortega said the candidacy fulfilled the party’s commitment to have women in at least half of candidacies.

But Eliseo Nuñez, a former congressman for the opposition liberal party, saw it as a move to cement the couple’s hold on power.

“I have always thought that Ortega’s plan was to guarantee his family’s succession in case he can’t go on or isn’t around, and this is proof of that,” Nuñez said.

Ortega ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, then lost an election to Violeta Chamorro. Murillo led the campaigns that returned Ortega to the presidency in 2006 and won him re-election in 2011.

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, right, and first lady Rosario Murillo, wave to supporters during an event commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Sandinista National Liberation Front withdrawal to Masaya, in Managua, Nicaragua. Photo: AP/Esteban Felix

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, right, and first lady Rosario Murillo, wave to supporters during an event in Managua, Nicaragua. Photo: AP/Esteban Félix

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