“Sham” and “Farce” in Nicaragua?

“Sham” and “Farce” in Nicaragua?

Long before the election took place in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration dismissed it as “sham” and “Soviet style.” After the election took place on November 4, 1984, President Reagan pronounced it a “farce.” To anyone familiar with the kind of electoral exercises conducted regularly in the Soviet bloc, so unsparing a judgment seems odd. To my knowledge, the Communist party of the Soviet Union has never failed to obtain less than a 98 percent electoral “mandate.”‘ In Nicaragua, the Sandinista FSLN pulled only 67 percent of the total vote, and parties opposed to the FSLN (on both the right and the left) obtained 35 out of the 96 seats in the National Assembly (see the box on p. 000). Is the FSLN perhaps an inept totalitarian party? Or are the Sandinistas so wily and dexterous as to have arranged for a modest victory, the better to hoodwink their adversaries? But then, why had they so steadfastly predicted that “at least 80 percent” of the population would rally to their banner?

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