Nicaraguan president’s wife tapped to be his running mate

August 3, 2016
FILE - In this July 3, 2015, file photo, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, right, and first lady Rosario Murillo, wave to supporters during an event commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Sandinista National Liberation Front withdrawal to Masaya, in Managua, Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s governing Sandinista party has named the first lady on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, as the running-mate of President Ortega in his bid for a third term in Nov. 6 election. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix,File)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaraguan first lady Rosario Murillo was named Tuesday to be the running mate of her husband, Daniel Ortega, in his bid to win election to a third consecutive presidential term in Nov. 6 elections.

The governing Sandinista National Liberation Front party formally registered Murillo as its vice presidential candidate.

Murillo already holds considerable power as chief government spokeswoman. Even the red-and-black flags of the Sandinista revolution have been supplanted by the pink and baby blue colors she favors.

While Ortega occasionally appears in public, Murillo holds forth regularly on national television with a stream of rhetoric that blends socialism, New Age spirituality and Roman Catholicism.

Ortega said the candidacy fulfilled the party’s commitment to have women in at least half of candidacies.

But Eliseo Nunez, a former congressman for the opposition liberal party, saw it as a move to cement the couple’s hold on power.

“I have always thought that Ortega’s plan was to guarantee his family’s succession in case he can’t go on or isn’t around, and this is proof of that,” Nunez said.

Ortega ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, then lost an election to Violeta Chamorro. Murillo led the campaigns that returned Ortega to the presidency in 2006 and won him re-election in 2011.

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