Nicaragua’s Ortega to start 4th term, with wife as new VP

MANAGUA: Daniel Ortega is to begin a fourth five-year term as Nicaragua’s president on Tuesday, following an election denounced by critics as a “farce.”
The country’s opposition called for new elections after the vote in November, which Ortega won in a landslide after courts barred a key opposition party from participating.
Ortega will be sworn in on Managua’s Plaza de la Revolucion alongside his new vice-president — his wife, Rosario Murillo — who will join Ortega in office in the rarest of political power couples.
While Murillo has served as Ortega’s spokesperson and the face of his government, Nicaragua has never before been officially governed by a husband-and-wife team.
Ortega, 71, is rumoured to be gravely ill, and analysts believe Murillo’s ascent is a move to further consolidate power by lining her up as his successor.
A former revolutionary leader, Ortega ruled the country as head of the revolution junta and then as president from 1979-90. He was elected to a second presidential term in 2006 and re-elected in 2011 and 2016.
His next term as leader of the hemisphere’s second-poorest country holds a series of challenges, including a bill before the US Senate to tie foreign investment in Nicaragua to free and fair elections,and protests against a planned transnational shipping canal.
— dpa