He worked as an attorney after his graduation and reached the position of Notary Public and specialized in Central-American Integration and in Corporate and Banking Law. At this time, he married María Dolores Cardenal Vargas and they had four children over a long period of time.
Aleman continued to gain respect as an attorney until he became known as the best lawyer in the nation, one who often fought against injustice and who was involved in many different banking and private commercial activities. He was consequently elected as the president of the National Association of Coffee Producers in Managua and retained that position until 1990. It was during this period that he strove to become known as a liberal political fighter and as an active member of the powerful Superior Advisory of Private Enterprises (COSEP). The Sandinistas were in power for the length of this period and, because of his liberal activities, Aleman was thrown in prison. While incarcerated, his father died and Arnoldo was not allowed to leave the prison, even to attend the wake. Consequently, Aleman's convictions and hate of the Sandinistas hardened.
In 1990, Arnoldo Aleman was elected mayor of Managua, easily the most important city in Nicaragua, at the same time the Violeta Chamorro won the presidential election. Managua was in ruins as a result of the poor economic conditions during the Sandinista regime and the fact that the damage from the 1972 earthquake had never been repaired. Many of the streets were not even made of stone, and those that were made of asphalt were in terrible condition. There were no streetlights, and anything that had any value at all had been stolen or vandalized in public areas. So Arnoldo began a vigorous campaign to renovate the city with international aid. He was largely successful and the city improved drastically between 1990 and 1996.
Arnoldo began to work with the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) in an effort to bring new life into the party and provide a place for the liberal forces that had gotten Ms. Chamorro democratically elected to join together again for the 1996 elections. He eventually gave up on that party, however, and formed a new party--the Liberal Alliance. He welcomed all of the supporters of democracy, the independents, and basically everyone else who wasn't pro-Sandinista into the party.
In 1996, he ran as the party's candidate and won by a decisive
majority in spite of the fact that there were over 25 candidates in the
presidential race. On October 20, 1996 Arnoldo Lacayo Aleman became the
president-elect of Nicaragua and he was inaugurated on January 10, 1997.
Aleman has stated that his goals are to fight poverty
and unemployment and provide sustainable economic growth and his
efforts seem to be succeeding.