Going into today’s presidential and congressional elections in Nicaragua, it looked as though Sandinista leader and ex-president Daniel Ortega would have the plurality and be close to the 35% threshold he needs to win if his margin is five percentage points or better. (If the margin is closer than five points, then he needs 40%, which he is unlikely to get.) The margin looked likely to be met, unless, of course, a lot of anti-Sandinista voters jump ship from trailing candidates in order to make the race closer and more likely to go to a runoff.
Another thing to watch for is the congressional vote. Whoever wins will not have a majority. Presidential vetoes (which are amendatory; that is, the president can re-write a bill sent to him by congress*) can be overridden by an absolute majority. Moreover, if Ortega wins, his party is unlikely to have the 40% of seats needed to block constitutional amendments that could be aimed at curbing the powers of his office. (The constitution, originally passed in 1987 when Ortega was in office, has been amended several times, often with changes to presidential powers.) In other words, even if Ortega wins, the Sandinista party will be much weaker than it was under Ortega’s previous presidency.
Previous discussion of the race and the rules: Ortega on cusp of victory.
* The bill becomes law as marked up by the president, unless a majority of all members of congress insists, within a contitutionally stipulated time frame, upon original version passed by congress.