Nicaragua's Ortega Rewrites Constitution Overnight

To give his buddies more time term in office
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2010 2:25 PM CDT
Nicaragua's Ortega Rewrites Constitution Overnight
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega gestures as he delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in this April 17, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

What do you do when your country’s pesky constitution won’t let your buddies have another term in office? Why, declare a national holiday, and then rewrite the darn thing while everyone’s vacationing, of course. That’s what Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega did last week, reports the Christian Science Monitor. When lawmakers returned from their Ortega-decreed sojourns this week, they found a “new edition” of the constitution had been printed—and that it happened to contain a new section.

With term limits past due on much of Ortega’s Cabinet, the president slipped in an old law saying that elected officials and judges could overstay their term limits until new officials are appointed. The provision was originally included in the 1987 Constitution as a transition measure, and expired more than two decades ago. A lawyer for one opposition group called the move “absolutely absurd.” (More Daniel Ortega stories.)

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