Canada Calls for Strengthened Democracy in Nicaragua Following Elections

(No. 340 - November 9, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today called for strengthened democracy in Nicaragua following the country’s November 6, 2011, presidential and parliamentary elections.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate the people of Nicaragua for carrying out national elections that were for the most part calm and peaceful,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “However, I am concerned by reports from national and international observers that there were serious weaknesses in the electoral process.”

The European Union and Organization of American States electoral observation missions have both expressed concerns about irregularities and deficiencies in the preparation for elections and on election day. These observers have pointed to problems such as a lack of impartiality and independence on the part of the Supreme Electoral Council, difficulties faced by some voters in obtaining proper identification, and insufficient access on election day for some opposition party scrutineers.

“I urge Nicaraguan political leaders, civil society groups, citizens and the media to work peacefully toward strengthened democratic governance,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “Canada has maintained a frank and open dialogue with Nicaraguan authorities on the importance of democracy and the rule of law, and we will continue to do so.”

Canada’s engagement with the Americas focuses on the promotion of democratic governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as the promotion of security and prosperity in the hemisphere. Canadian electoral observers participated in the EU electoral observation mission, and the Canadian embassy has been closely monitoring the electoral situation in Nicaragua, including through the deployment of three observer teams to 25 polling stations on election day.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

John Babcock
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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