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Nicaraguan President Rejects Early Election Call As Death Toll Passes 300

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 15, 2018: Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega, has rejected a demand for holding an early general election amid widespread demonstrations by those who support and oppose his government as the death toll from protests jumped past 300.

His announcement comes as over 38 people were killed during clashes in three areas on Sunday, July 8th, according to the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (Cenidh).

More than 310 people are reported to have been killed since the wave of protests against the government was triggered by changes to the social security system announced on April 18th.

The government accuses the protesters of plotting a coup d’etat against the president, who was re-elected to a third consecutive term in office in 2016.

Ortega reiterated that the elections should be held every five years by the country’s Constitution.

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“The rules are set by the Constitution of the Republic. People can’t change the rules overnight because of some coup leaders’ ideas,” said Ortega.

He rejected the proposal by Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, Luis Almagro, secretary-general of Organization of American States, the president’s brother Humberto Saavedra and other countries on moving up the election in 2021 to March 2019.

“There will be time. According to the laws, there will be time for elections. Everything has its own timing,” said Daniel Ortega during his speech.

The Nicaraguan president also warned that he would continue to attack those he considers as subversives and called his move “a fight for peace.”

In the speech, the Nicaraguan president insisted on blaming the deaths of the protesters on people who are “bad guys” and accused the protests as centers of “torture, of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the US State Department is urging Americans to reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest, and limited healthcare availability.

On July 6, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel. The U.S. Embassy remains open to provide emergency services for U.S. citizens. (Complimented by reporting from our partner, CCTV)

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