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Nicaragua approves unlimited presidential terms

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Legislators participate in a plenary session of the National Assembly in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, Jan. 9, 2014.

Nicaragua’s National Assembly has approved constitutional amendments that will allow presidents of the Central American country to be reelected indefinitely.

On Tuesday, the lawmakers voted for the changes a second time as required for them to become law. The amendments passed the first hurdle in December last year.

National Assembly President Rene Nunez, a member of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, said the changes were approved the second time by an easy 64 to 25 vote. Sixty-three of the 92 MPs belong to the ruling party.

The new law, which overturns a 1995 law limiting a president to two terms, will pave the way for socialist President Daniel Ortega to seek reelection in 2016.

Opposition lawmakers, who voted against the amendment, said the move is designed to keep 68-year-old Ortega, a prominent Cold War antagonist of the United States, in power for life. The reform will go into effect once signed by Ortega.

Ortega, a leader of the leftist guerrilla movement that overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza in a revolution, first took power in 1979 and was formally elected president for a single term in 1984. He has been president since 2007.


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