(No. 321 - October 29, 2009 - 1:55 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today issued the following statement regarding the October 19 ruling on presidential re-election made by the Constitutional Chamber of Nicaragua’s Supreme Court:
"Canada’s engagement with the Americas focuses on the promotion of democratic governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Canada is concerned at the recent ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of Nicaragua’s Supreme Court that eliminates the constitutional ban on the consecutive and continuous re-election of officials. We take seriously allegations that due legal process was circumvented. Our initial assessment of the ruling leads us to believe that this decision continues the worrying trend of narrowing democratic space in Nicaragua.
"Canada will actively work with the inter-American community, and particularly the Organization of American States, to ensure that the people of Nicaragua are supported in their democratic aspirations, and are free to peacefully express their opinions.
"We encourage the Government of Nicaragua, like all countries of the OAS, to live up to the commitments it has made in organizations such as the OAS and the UN to promote free and fair elections and a transparent democratic process."
In meetings with Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega in January, and with Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos in September, Minister of State Kent made clear Canada’s concern over the country’s November 2008 municipal elections and with the narrowing of democratic space in the country.
As a result of the serious irregularities that marked the municipal elections, the Canadian International Development Agency has redirected the $1.5 million Public Sector Reform Fund to support for democratic development activities, particularly electoral and related policy reforms.
For more information, please visit Canada-Nicaragua Relations, Nicaragua and Canada Expresses Concern over Nicaraguan Elections (latter in Spanish only).
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