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Nicaragua General Information
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Government in Nicaragua


Nicaragua is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.

Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional). The National Assembly consists of 90 deputies elected from party lists drawn at the department and national level, plus the outgoing president and the runner-up in the presidential race, for a total of 92.

The Supreme Court supervises the functioning of the still largely ineffective and overburdened judicial system. As part of the 1995 constitutional reforms, the independence of the Supreme Court was strengthened by increasing the number of magistrates from 9 to 12. In 2000, the number of Supreme Court Justices was increased to 16. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the political parties and elected to five-year terms by the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Administratively, Nicaragua is divided into 15 departments (departamentos) and two self-governing regions (autonomous communities) based on the Spanish model. The departments are then subdivided into 153 municipios (municipalities). The two autonomous regions are Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte and Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur, often referred to as RAAN and RAAS, respectively.


Country name : conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua

conventional short form: Nicaragua

local long form: Republica de Nicaragua

local short form: Nicaragua
Government type : republic
Capital : name: Managua

geographic coordinates: 12 08 N, 86 15 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions : 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonoma); Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas
Independence : 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday : Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution : 9 January 1987; revised in 1995, 2000, and 2005
Legal system : civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts
International law organisation participation : accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage : 16 years of age; universal
Executive branch : chief of state: President Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Moises Omar Halleslevens Acevedo (since 10 January 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Moises Omar Halleslevens Acevedo (since 10 January 2012)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)

election results: Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra reelected president; percent of vote - Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra 62.5%, Fabio Gadea 31%, Arnoldo Aleman 5.9%, other 0.6%
Legislative branch : unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 90 members elected by proportional representation and party lists to serve five-year terms; 1 seat for the previous president, 1 seat for the runner-up in previous presidential election)

elections: last held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FSLN 64, PLI/MRS 26, PLC 2
Judicial branch : highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema de Justicia ( consists of 16 judges organised into administrative, civil, criminal, and constitutional chambers)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by the National Assembly to serve 5-year staggered terms

subordinate courts: Appeals Court; first instance civil, criminal and military courts
Political parties and leaders : Alliance for the Republic or APRE [Carlos Canales];

Conservative Party or PC [Alejandro Bolanos Davis];

Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Indalecio Rodriguez];

Liberal Constitutionalist Party or PLC [Maria Haydee Osuna];

Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance or ALN [Alejandro Mejia Ferreti];

Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra];

Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Ana Margarita Vijil]
Political pressure groups and leaders : National Workers Front or FNT (a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labour unions including: Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN)

Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT (an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labour unions including: Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labour Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labour or CGT-I, and Labour Action and Unity Central or CAUS)

Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN (an independent labour union)

Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP (a confederation of business groups)
International organisation participation : BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US : chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker

chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570, 6573

fax: [1] (202) 939-6545

consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US : chief of mission: Ambassador Phyllis M. Powers

embassy: Km 5.5 Carretera Sur, Managua

mailing address: American Embassy Managua, APO AA 34021

telephone: [505] 2252-7100, 2252-7888; 2252-7634 (after hours)

fax: [505] 2252-7250
Flag description : three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centred in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; the banner is based on the former blue-white-blue flag of the Federal Republic of Central America; the blue bands symbolise the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while the white band represents the land between the two bodies of water

note: similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centred in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centred in the white band
National symbol(s) : turquoise-browed motmot (bird)
National anthem : name: "Salve a ti, Nicaragua" (Hail to Thee, Nicaragua)

lyrics/music: Salomon Ibarra Mayorga/traditional, arranged by Luis Abraham Delgadillo

note: although only officially adopted in 1971, the music was approved in 1918 and the lyrics in 1939; the tune, originally from Spain, was used as an anthem for Nicaragua from the 1830's until 1876






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