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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 15:17 GMT
Press wary about Ortega victory
Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo in Managua
Daniel Ortega won 38% of the vote

Newspapers in Nicaragua and other Central American countries reflect a combination of hope and uncertainty at the victory of Daniel Ortega in the presidential election.

Many commentators at home and abroad are ready to give him the benefit of any doubts about his ability to advance the nation's wellbeing and some see him as a distinct improvement on recent leaders.

However, doubts are expressed at what are seen as underhand manoeuvrings to achieve the final result, with fingers being pointed at US involvement.

Writing in Nicaragua's El Nuevo Diario, Ricardo Trejos Maldonado is jubilant at the Ortega victory.

A dedicated and professional politician who works tirelessly
Comment in La Jornada

"Sound the trumpets, victory is here!", he says, describing the election as "the most significant in Nicaragua's history".

He hails "the tenacity of commander Daniel Ortega. His struggle has been long and hard-fought, he has rowed relentlessly against the tide, he has kept the Sandinistas alive."


La Jornada columnist Raśl Arčvalo similarly extols Mr Ortega's energy, describing him as "a dedicated and professional politician who works tirelessly, maintaining an intense rhythm of life which has cost him a silent heart attack".

"A guerrilla who rose to power, then lost it, relinquishing it peacefully in 1990... many of his adversaries and former fighting colleagues think that Ortega deserves the opportunity to govern again.

"But it remains to be seen whether he will have any success with his policies."

An editorial in La Prensa throws down the gauntlet and challenges Mr Ortega to live up to his election pledges.

"Ortega blamed 'savage capitalism' and 'neo-liberalism' for all the problems suffered by Nicaraguans and said it was necessary to install a leftist and populist government to resolve them. Now he has to deliver."

The editorial says Mr Ortega especially promised to resolve the problem of the country's widespread poverty and doubts whether state-led policies will do the trick.

A smiling Rice suggests an agenda to Ortega
Trinchera de la Noticia headline

"We defenders of liberal democracy and the capitalist system know that the only thing which produces wealth and reduces poverty is national and foreign investment... and first class products which compete at home and abroad."

The business paper El Observador Economico appears unfazed by the election result and sets out a number of challenges for the incoming government.

"The principle challenge is to improve democratic governability while giving priority to the fight against poverty, ensuring a reduction in the current economic inequalities which are becoming more acute."


Trinchera de la Noticia reports claims it says are made by "diplomatic sources" that the US State Department was involved in "machinations" to ensure Eduardo Montealegre came second.

"It is said that the State Department opened up the possibility it would recognise Ortega's possible victory provided Montealegre came second."

Nicaragua seeks to improve its international relations
La Prensa (Honduras) headline

"A smiling Rice suggests an agenda to Ortega", runs a headline over another Trinchera story, which reports that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had proposed a "bilateral working agenda" to the victor.

It quotes Ms Rice as saying in a recent interview that any decision to move away from a free trade model would prove a "very difficult political option" for Mr Ortega.

In neighbouring Costa Rica, La Prensa Libre is optimistic that the Ortega victory will lead to improved bilateral relations.

The paper says former Nicaraguan governments tended "to use Costa Rica as a scapegoat to divert attention from its internal problems".

It urges Mr Ortega "to forge a good government, which it truly needs, as, together with Honduras and Haiti, it is bottom of the development league in our continent".

'Second chance'

"Nicaragua seeks to improve its international relations," runs a headline in La Prensa of Honduras, another neighbour. "Daniel Ortega sent a message of reassurance to Washington," the paper says.

El Salvador's Diario El Mundo says the Ortega victory "has made Washington very nervous".

Ortega's victory opens the doors of uncertainty.
Guatemala's Prensa Libre

An editorial in Guatemala's Prensa Libre says Mr Ortega "has been given a second chance" in a victory which would have been "unthinkable" until fairly recently.

"Ortega's victory opens the doors of uncertainty... Let's hope we Central Americans don't come to lament the decision of the Nicaraguans."

Mexico's leftist La Jornada publishes a picture of jubilant Ortega supporters waving from atop a single-decker bus. The bus is named "God Loves You."

And Mexico's El Universal quotes Mr Ortega as saying Nicaraguans will "work together to provide security to investors".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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