WASHINGTON — The United States is "very concerned" by a Nicaraguan court's decision not to stop that country's leftist president, Daniel Ortega, from seeking re-election, the State Department said.
"We share the concern of many Nicaraguans that this situation is part of a larger pattern of questionable and irregular governmental actions," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.
Three days earlier the Central American nation's Supreme Court said a ban on presidents and vice presidents seeking a second term was "unenforceable."
Nicaragua's constitution, amended since 1995, allows only one presidential term at a time and a maximum of two non-consecutive terms.
"We are very concerned about the manner in which the Constitutional Chamber of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court reached a decision on October 19 regarding re-election for Nicaraguan officials, including the president," Kelly said.
"The ruling appears to short circuit, through legal maneuverings, the open and transparent consideration by the Nicaraguan people of the possibility for presidential re-election."
It is not the first time the United States has tangled with Ortega, who returned to power in 2006 after a 16 year hiatus.
Ortega led the 1979 Sandinista uprising that ousted the regime of US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza, after 45 years of oppressive rule.
Ortega served as president from 1985-1990.
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