The country was torn apart by civil war until President Ortega agreed to peace with the contras and arranged to have free elections. The Sandinistas nominated Ortega as their candidate, of course, and he led in all the polls during the entire campaign. Violeta Chamorro was sponsored by a coalition of 14 different parties who's goal was to get anyone in except Ortega. Chamorro won an astounding victory and became president of Nicaragua in 1990.
Chamorro went on to begin the difficult process of reconstruction and restoration of what was left of a totalitarian state, a polarized constituency, and a destroyed economy with a massive international debt, an average annual income of $400 per person and an inflation rate of 13,500%. She went on to succeed in reducing the military and retaining relative peace between the various factions. She undid much of the damage which her predecessors had done by establishing a democratic, representative government, privatizing many state-owned enterprises and setting up a judicial board to review the property claims which were causing so much turmoil. Her efforts were criticized by the US, however, because she allowed certain Sandinistas to remain in office and she didn't immediately return the properties which Somoza had confiscated. One must realize that Violeta Chamorro's primary goal was in fact to keep the peace and she did this remarkably well while in office.
Ms. Chamorro is presently the president of a community service group and
a passive but opinionated voice in the political scene of Nicaragua.