Nicaragua sets November 6 for presidential, legislative polls

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Managua (AFP)

Authorities in Nicaragua on Friday set November 6 as the date for presidential and legislative elections widely expected to see leftist President Daniel Ortega vie for a third term.

Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front party, born out of the 1970s rebel movement he helped lead, has not yet officially declared its candidate.

But the 70-year-old incumbent leader, who was elected in 2006 and 2011 and previously ruled from 1985 to 1990, is tipped to try to hold on to office amid few apparent rivals.

In 2014, amid controversy, he had a law passed that scrapped a previous limit of two consecutive five-year terms for presidents. The legislation also gave him new powers.

Nicaragua's High Electoral Council has told the 17 registered parties in the country to present their candidates.

In addition to the president, the polls will choose the post of vice president and the lawmakers in the 92-seat National Assembly. Their five-year terms will begin in January 2017.

The date chosen, November 6, means Nicaragua's elections will be taking place two days before the United States holds its presidential election.

Ortega, a former rebel, has positioned himself as an anti-American leader, cultivating relationships with similarly minded leaders of Venezuela and Cuba.