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Borrell says Nicaragua is in a "dire" situation and hopes to exert pressure

President Daniel Ortega's main electoral rivals are in prison
European Commission Vice-President in charge of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell

PHOTO/EUROPEAN UNION/ERIC VIDAL  -   European Commission Vice-President in charge of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said that Nicaragua is in a "very dire" situation and hoped that the EU club will be able to put "pressure" on the regime after the debate in which EU ministers will discuss this Monday the reaction of the EU-27 to the elections in that country.

"I hope to put more pressure on the regime", the politician declared on his arrival at the meeting of European Union (EU) foreign ministers in Luxembourg, after being asked about his expectations for the debate of the heads of diplomacy of the Member States.

The situation in the Latin American country is "very dire", he stressed.

The foreign ministers are meeting in a meeting in which Spain has asked to discuss the reaction of the EU-27 to the elections in Nicaragua on 7 November, in which the main rivals of President Daniel Ortega are imprisoned.

El presidente Ortega busca un cuarto mandato consecutivo en noviembre de 2021, y está tirando de todas las palancas a su disposición para asegurar que su Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional retenga el poder
AP/CRISTOBAL VENEGAS - President Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office in November 2021, and is pulling every lever at his disposal to ensure his Sandinista National Liberation Front retains power.

"We have a clear idea of what is going to happen. Basically, the opposition will not be allowed to participate in the elections and it is clear that everything is being prepared for elections that will be neither free nor democratic," said a European source.

Faced with a situation in which there is "a clear authoritarian turn by the Ortega regime", "there will probably be a refusal to recognise the result" of the elections, because it will not represent the opinion of Nicaraguans, said the same source.

Questioned about the Venezuelan government's decision to suspend dialogue with the opposition and whether this means a change in the conditions for sending an electoral observation mission to this year's regional elections in Venezuela, Borrell preferred not to answer.

El presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega y la vicepresidenta Rosario Murillo durante una marcha denominada "Caminamos por la paz y la vida. Justicia" en Managua, Nicaragua el 29 de agosto de 2018
REUTERS/OSWALDO RIVAS - Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo during a march called "We walk for peace and life. Justice" in Managua, Nicaragua August 29, 2018.

"On the electoral observation mission in Venezuela, I think I have already said everything I had to say", he commented.

On Friday, from Washington, Borrell assured that the United States supports the sending of a European electoral observation mission to the Venezuelan elections.

Borrell defended the sending of an electoral observation mission, since "these are not presidential or legislative elections, they are regional and local" and "there are many mayors and presidents of states who are in office and want to repeat their mandates".

Perfiles de las figuras de la oposición detenidas en Nicaragua, hasta el 23 de junio
AFP/AFP - Profiles of opposition figures detained in Nicaragua, as of 23 June

"It seems reasonable to me that there should be an effort, not to support the opposition, but that there should be guarantees that the elections will be as free as possible", he told journalists.

On 21 November, Venezuela will hold regional and local elections, in which citizens will elect the governors of the 23 states that make up the country and the mayors of 335 municipalities, as well as representatives of the legislative councils.