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  Number 96 | Julio 1989
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Nicaragua

Just the Facts: Political Parties in Nicaragua

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Here, for use in making sense of the upcoming electoral campaigning in Nicaragua, is a scorecard of the 21 legally recognized parties as of June 1989, including party name, principal leaders, origins, where it falls on the political spectrum and its participation in alliances (The Group of 14, the Coordinadora). The parties are grouped according to their historical origins—the four Liberal tendencies, the six Conservative ones, and so on. Note that names can also be deceptive, since certain Liberal factions are more conservative than some of the Conservative ones.

Liberals

1. Independent Liberal Party (PLI)
Leader: Virgilio Godoy
Ideology: Rightwing.
History: Separated from Nationalist Liberal Party (of Somoza) in 1944, and in 1947 formed PLI.
Part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 election, winning 9% of vote for President.

2. Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC)
Leader: Ernesto Somarriba and Jaime Cuadra
Ideology: Far Right.
History: Formed in 1968, a splinter from Nationalist Liberal Party.
Part of Group of 14. Member of Coordinadora.
Abstained from 1984 elections.

3. Liberal Party for National Unity (PLUN)
Leader: Eduardo Coronado
Ideology: Centrist.
History: Split from PLI five years ago; received legal status in 1989.
Part of Group of 14.

4. Neo-Liberal Party (PALI)
Leader: Jorge Ramírez
Ideology: Far Right.
History: Split from PLI in 1986; received legal status on appeal in 1989.
Part of Group of 14.

Conservatives

5. Democratic Conservative Party (PCD)
Leaders: Clemente Guido and Hernaldo Zúniga
Ideology: Traditional Conservative.
History: 139 years old. Known as PCD since 1979.
Not part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 elections. Won 14% of vote for President.

6. Popular Conservative Alliance.
Leader: Miriam Argüello
Ideology: Far Right.
History: Split from PCD in 1984; received legal status in 1989.
Part of Group of 14. Member of Coordinadora.

7. Social Conservative Party (PCS)
Leader: Fernando Agüero
Ideology: Far Right.
History: Less than a year old; received legal status in 1989.
Not part of Group of 14.

8. National Conservative Unity Party (PUNC)
Leader: Silviano Matamoros and Mario Rappaccioli
Ideology: Far Right.
History: Split from PCD in 1984; received legal status on appeal in 1989.
Part of Group of 14. Member of Coordinadora.

9. Social Democratic Party (PSD)
Leaders: Guillermo Potoy
Ideology: Rightwing.
History: Split from Conservatives in 1979.
Part of Group of 14. Member of Coordinadora.
Abstained from 1984 elections.

10. Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN)
Leader: Alfonso Robelo
Ideology: Rightwing Social Democratic.
History: Formed in 1978.
Had been a party before contra war, re registered in 1989. First contra party given legal status.

Social Christians

11. Popular Social Christian Party (PPSC)
Leader: Mauricio Díaz
Ideology: Centrist.
History: Split from PSC in 1976.
Part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 elections, winning 5% of vote for President.

12. Nicaraguan Social Christian Party (PSC)
Leader: Erick Ramírez
Ideology: Christian Democrat, center Right.
History: Founded in 1957.
Part of Group of 14. Member of Coordinadora.
Abstained from 1984 elections.

13. National Democratic Confidence Party (PDC)
Leader: Agustín Jarquín, Adán Fletes
Ideology: Center Right.
History: Split from PSC three years ago; received legal status on appeal in 1989.
Part of Group of 14.

14. National Action Party (PAN)
Leader: Dr. Eduardo Rivas Gasteazoro
Ideology: Rightwing.
History: Split from PSC four years ago; received legal status on appeal in 1989.
Part of Group of 14.

Leftist Parties

15. Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)
Principal Leaders: Nine-member National Directorate, including Daniel Ortega, President of the country.
Ideology: Sandinista, leftist.
History: Founded in 1961.
Participated in 1984 elections, winning 67% of vote for President.

16. Popular Action Movement (MAP-ML)
Leaders: Carlos Cuadra, Isidro Téllez
Ideology: Orthodox Marxist-Leninist.
History: Formed in 1972 by ex-FSLN member Alejandro Gutiérrez.
Not part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 elections, winning 1% of vote for President.

17. Revolutionary Workers' Party (PRT)
Leader: Bonifacio Miranda
Ideology: Marxist, Trotskyist tendencies.
History: Founded in 1971; received legal status after 1984 elections.
Not part of Group of 14.

18. Revolutionary Unity Movement (MUR)
Leader: Francisco Samper
Ideology: Marxist-Leninist, pluralist Left.
History: less than a year old; received legal status in 1989.
Not part of Group of 14.

Other

19. Nicaraguan Socialist Party (PSN)
Leader: Gustavo Tablada
Ideology: Left, becoming more centrist.
History: Formed in 1944. First leftist party in Nicaragua.
Part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 elections, winning 1% of vote for President.

20. Communist Party of Nicaragua (PC de N)
Leader: Elí Altamirano
Ideology: Marxist, but has formed coalitions with rightwing parties.
History: Formed in 1970 as a split from PSN.
Part of Group of 14.
Participated in 1984 elections, winning 1% of vote for President.

21. Central American Unity Party (PUCA)
Leaders: Blanca Rojas and Giovani D'Ciofalo
Ideology: Central American unity; centrist.
History: Founded 1944; received legal status after 1984 elections.
Not part of Group of 14.

Parties Without Legal Status

22. Central American Integrationist Party (PIAC)
Leader: Dr. Alejandro Pérez Arévalo
Ideology: Central American unity, centrist.
History: new split from PUCA; denied legal status on appeal in 1989.
Part of Group of 14.

23. Democratic Action (AD)
Leader: Manuel Elvir
Ideology: undefined.
History: very new; has not applied for legal status.
Not part of Group of 14.


Source: La Crónica, May 19, 1989, Barricada, May 18 and 19,
1989; CAHI Update, vol. 6, no. 34.

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