11 Jan 2012

Nicaragua leader sworn in for third term

8:39 pm on 11 January 2012

Former Sandinista guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega has been sworn in for a controversial third term as Nicaragua's president following a landslide victory in an election in November last year.

The main opposition party boycotted the ceremony in the capital Managua on Tuesday, saying the poll was fraudulent and unconstitutional, the BBC reports.

Mr Ortega's critics accuse him of seeking to concentrate power in his hands and stay in office indefinitely.

He was allowed to run for president after the Sandinista-controlled Supreme Court overturned a ban on consecutive terms.

Mr Ortega, 66, was returned to office during the ceremony in Revolution Square decorated with thousands of flowers.

Some 8000 guests - including the presidents of all the other Central American nations and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - watched as Mr Ortega read the oath.

The former rebel won the election with more than 60% of the vote, while his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won a big enough congressional majority to enact constitutional changes.