Nicaragua is an official and practical constitutional democracy which advocates free representation and human rights and operates under the 1995 reforms of the 1987 constitution. There are 15 departments and 145 municipalities as well as two autonomous regions on the Atlantic coast in Nicaragua. The Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua guarantees freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and association and freedom of movement within the country as well as foreign travel, emigration and repatriation. Any discrimination based on birth, nationality, political beliefs, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, national origin, and economic or social condition is prohibited. Domestic and international human rights monitors are allowed to operate freely throughout the country. Anyone from the age of 16 and up may vote in Nicaragua.
The federal government of Nicaragua is composed of four groups: the Executive, Judiciary , Legislative, and Electoral.
The Judiciary Branch includes the Supreme Court and subordinate appeals, district and local courts. The Supreme Court is composed of 12 magistrates who serve 7 year terms. These magistrates are chosen by the National Assembly from Presidential proposals.
The Legislative Branch is made up of the 92 members of the National Assembly. The National Assembly, the counterpart of the US Congress, is made up of members serving 6-year terms who are elected by party from departmental and national levels. If any presidential candidate in the race acquires a certain minimum amount of votes, they will be invited to serve on the National Assembly. For this reason many people choose to run for president without actually hoping to become president. In the last election, there were more than 25 candidates on the ballot. The National Assembly's power was recently strengthened by the 1995 constitutional reforms. These reforms, provoked by a natural fear of dictatorship, allowed the National Assembly to override any Presidential veto by simply reaching a majority vote. They also eliminated the President's ability to pocket veto.
Seats held by the parties from the 1996 elections:
Liberal Alliance: 42
The Electoral Power is the group responsible for organizing and conducting elections, plebiscites and referendums.
|Vice President||Enrique Bolaños|
|Foreign Affairs Minister||Emilio Alvarez Montalvan|
|Finance Minister||Esteban Duque Estrada|
|Economy Minister||Noel Sacasa|
|Central Bank Minister||Noel Ramírez|
|Government Minister||Jose Antonio Alvarado|
|Agriculture Minister||Mario DeFranco|
|Defense Minister||Jaime Cuadra|
|Construction and Transportation Minster||Edgard Quintana|
|Health Minister||Carlos Quinónez|
|Education Minister||Humberto Belli|
|Attorney General||Julio Centeno|
|Labor Minister||Wilfredo Navarro|