MANAGUA, Nov 7, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 07th Nov, 2016 ) - Nicaragua held elections Sunday that look certain to hand another term to popular President Daniel Ortega, and make his wife vice president, but which the opposition said was marked by "massive" voter abstention. Speaking just after casting his own ballot, and as polling closed at 6:00 pm (0000 GMT Monday), Ortega said "it's a vote for peace, for the security of the Nicaraguan people.
" results were expected within hours. Pre-poll voter surveys predicted support as high as 70 percent for Ortega. Murillo, whom many see as already sharing power and well-positioned to go from vice president to head of state in the future, described the vote as "an exemplary election, a historic election." But the opposition, which has been sidelined by Ortega and largely booted out of the National Assembly by recent court decisions, questioned the legitimacy of the elections.
"It's obvious across the country that absenteeism was massive," the head of the opposition Broad Front for Democracy party, Violeta Granera, told reporters. "We calculate between 70 and 80 percent abstention," with voters notably staying away in areas traditionally loyal to Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front party, she said. No preliminary turnout figures were released by officials during the day. But Telemaco Talavera, head of the National Council of Universities, accredited to monitor the vote, said before polls closed: "There has been an excellent turnout." Foreign observers were barred from monitoring the process. But some Latin American officials -- including a couple of former presidents from Guatemala and Paraguay -- were invited to drop into polling stations to greet workers.