Country Listing

Nicaragua Table of Contents



Government: Under constitution promulgated January 1, 1987, republic with three independent branches. Executive elected for six-year term (Violeta Barrios de Chamorro became president on April 25, 1990). Unicameral National Assembly elected to sixyear term concurrent with that of president.

Politics: Numerous political parties, most based on personalities rather than political philosophies. Largest and most cohesive single party, leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) headed by Daniel José Ortega Saavedra, entered into opposition in 1990 after almost eleven years in government. Since 1990, government ostensibly held by National Opposition Union (UNO), loose coalition of fourteen parties united to contest FSLN. Relations between government of President Chamorro and UNO leadership strained over government support for laws guaranteeing transfer of expropriated properties to Sandinistas and continued FSLN influence within police and armed forces. Political process marked by violent labor militancy and sporadic political violence by rearmed Contra and Sandinista guerrillas. Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for 1996.

Judicial System: Judicial system consists of Supreme Court, which handles both civil and criminal cases, courts of appeal, and courts of first instance at departmental and municipal levels.

Administrative Divisions: Nine regions, subdivided into seventeen departments (fifteen full departments and two autonomous regions in Caribbean lowlands). In accordance with 1988 Law on Municipalities, 143 municipal units functioning in 1992.

Foreign Relations: Since 1990 Chamorro government has greatly improved relations with United States and supported Central American integration. During 1980s FSLN government aligned itself with former Soviet bloc and supported leftist causes, straining relations with United States and neighboring Central American countries.

International Agreements and Memberships: Membership in Organization of American States (OAS), Central American Common Market, System of Central American Integration (Sistema de Integracidón Centroamericana--SICA), and United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies. Important treaties include: 1947 Rio de Janeiro Treaty of Mutual Assistance (Rio Treaty), Treaty for the Proscription of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Tlatelolco Treaty), and Central American Peace Agreement (Esquipulas II).

Data as of December 1993