Nicaragua's National Assembly just approved changes to the constitution allowing President Daniel Ortega to run for a third successive term in 2016. Somewhere, Ortega's former arch-enemy, the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza DeBayle , is having a good laugh.
Ortega has been in office since 2007 and won re-election in 2011, following an election that observers from both the European Union and the Organization of American States deemed flawed. During this most recent eight years in power (Ortega was also president in the 1980s), the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional, aka the Sandinistas, has consolidated single-party dominance over the country's legislative and judicial institutions, including its Supreme Court, whose Sandinista-friendly members helpfully ruled in 2009 that a ban on consecutive presidential terms was unconstitutional. Now Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, a poet who also serves as the government's spokesperson and its cabinet chief on all social issues, exercise a level of control that, as one recent report put it,"holds echoes of the sort of family dynasty the Sandinista Front once took up arms to topple."
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James Gibney is an editor for Bloomberg Opinion. Previously an editor at the Atlantic, the New York Times, Smithsonian, Foreign Policy and the New Republic, he was also in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1989 to 1997 in India, Japan and Washington.