1984 Nicaraguan general election A general election was held in Nicaragua
on November 4, 1984, to elect a president and parliament. Approximately 1.2 million Nicaraguans voted,
representing a 75% turnout, with 94% of eligible voters registered.
Impartial observers from international groupings such as the European Economic Community
, religious groups sent to monitor the election, and observers from democratic nations such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland concluded that the elections were generally free and fair.
1984 Nicaraguan presidential election
The election date, November 4 was selected so that Nicaragua would have a legitimate, elected government in place before the anticipated reelection of Ronald Reagan
in the United States
on November 6. "The Sandinistas hoped that a competitive election with heavy turnout would deter a U.S. military intervention and reassure the FSLN's defenders. So the Sandinistas' decision to hold elections in 1984 was largely of foreign inspiration".
Between 1982 and 1984 the FSLN negotiated with the opposition on the proposed Political Parties Law and Electoral Law, and ultimately these were modified "in response to several of the opposition's most significant demands."
Similarly, multiple extensions of the deadline for candidate registration were granted whilst talks with the Coordinadora continued.
Coordinadora Democrática participation It has been argued that "probably a key factor in preventing the 1984 elections from establishing liberal democratic rule was the United States' policy toward Nicaragua."
The Reagan administration was divided over whether or not the rightwing coalition Coordinadora Democrática Nicaragüense
should participate in the elections, which "only complicated the efforts of the Coordinadora to develop a coherent electoral strategy."
Ultimately the US administration public and private support for non-participation allowed those members of the Coordinadora who favoured a boycott to gain the upper hand.
A coalition of right-wing parties including the Social Christians
, Social Democrats
, and the Constitutional Liberal Party
, calling itself the 'Democratic Coordinating Committee' (Coordinadora), decided to abstain from the elections on the grounds that the opposition parties had been given insufficient 'guarantees,' and not enough time to prepare for the elections. The Coordinadora's abstentionism was publicly supported by the US government, which hoped to challenge the legitimacy of the November elections by alleging that opposition sectors were not able to participate. But despite US intervention and the Coordinadora abstention seven political parties took part in the November elections. The three right-wing parties which put forward candidates were the PCDN, PLI, and PPSC. The three opposing left-wing parties were the PSN, PC de N and MAPML."
The Reagan administration denounced the 1984 vote as a 'Soviet-style sham', despite contrary opinions from external observers such as Baron Chitnis
, the Latin American Studies Association
and the international press. It escalated its diplomatic and propaganda campaign against the Sandinista government and increased military aid to the Contras
. "This undercut the new regime's legitimacy abroad and frustrated its hopes that the 1984 vote might smooth the way at home." 
May 1985 saw a trade embargo imposed, followed by $27m of "non-lethal" aid to the Contras, supplemented by $37m of secret "lethal" aid.
This led to the October 1985 reimposition of a State of Emergency in Nicaragua.
Presidential election results
- ^ Williams, Philip J. "Elections and democratization in Nicaragua: the 1990 elections in perspective." Journal of Interamerican Studies 32, 4:13-34 (winter 1990). p15
- ^ a b c Williams (1990:19)
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- ^ "NICARAGUAN VOTE: 'FREE, FAIR, HOTLY CONTESTED'" The New York Times
- ^ Cornelius, Wayne A. "The Nicaraguan elections of 1984: a reassessment of their domestic and international significance." Drake, Paul W. and Eduardo Silva. 1986. Elections and democratization in Latin America, 1980-85. La Jolla: Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, Institute of the Americas, University of California, San Diego. Pp. 62.
- ^ Williams (1990:17-18)
- ^ Williams (1990:18)
- ^ a b c Williams, Philip J. "Elections and democratization in Nicaragua: the 1990 elections in perspective." Journal of Interamerican Studies 32, 4:13-34 (winter 1990). p16
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