Nicaragua president refuses demands to quit

Washington: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega insisted on Monday he will serve out his term until 2021, defying protesters demanding his resignation in three months of unrest that have left nearly 300 people dead.
“Our electoral period ends with the elections of 2021, when we will have our next elections,” the former revolutionary leader told Fox News, adding that he would not countenance opposition demands for early elections.
“To move up the elections would create instability, insecurity and make things worse,” he said.
The 72-year-old leader, who has ruled Nicaragua for a total of 22 years since his Sandinista revolution toppled a US-backed ruler in 1979, declared that the deadly unrest rocking his country since April has in fact ended.
“It’s been a week now that the turmoil has stopped. Matters are becoming more normal in the country,” he said.
He acknowledged that peaceful demonstrations for and against his government were ongoing.
The assertion that Nicaragua’s turmoil was over followed lethal offensives by police and pro-government paramilitaries against protest hubs earlier this month.
The Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights said on Monday that 292 people have been killed in three months of protests and repression by police and paramilitaries using firearms, raising a previous toll.
The unrest began as a protest against a pension reform plan that has since been dropped. But that anger mushroomed into a broad campaign against Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, who are accused by critics of running a corrupt left-wing dictatorship. — AFP