Terrorism & Insurgency

Nicaragua’s government unlikely to adopt opposition-proposed reforms; raises risks of roadblocks, protester deaths, and weakens government outlook

08 June 2018

Key Points

  • The Organization of American States has agreed to facilitate development of electoral reforms with President Daniel Ortega, the results of which are projected for January 2019, which increases the likelihood of a prolonged government hold on power.
  • If the government rejects reform negotiations, anti-protest policing and paramilitary tactics are likely to escalate targeted shootings against civilians.
  • Security institutions statements against government-supported violence combined with an escalation of police and special forces resignations would indicate an expedited timescale for Ortega’s exit from office.


On 7 June, President Daniel Ortega requested time for reflection on democratic reform proposals presented by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua designed to end 50 days of national protests and resume multi-party talks to de-escalate the conflict.

Roundtable talks were suspended 31 May after police opened fire on the so-called ‘Mother’s Day’ march, with 16 killed and almost 100 injured. The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (Conferencia Episcopal de Nicaragua: CEN) has been mediating negotiations which had begun 16 May between the anti-government ‘Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy’ comprised of students, local civil society organisations, anti-canal activists, and business and government representatives over countrywide protests.

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