Since 1984, when the first post-dictatorship elections were held in Nicaragua, the ballot has signified much more than the simple gaining or losing of elected office. In 1984, the fact that enough international observers certified the Sandinista National Liberation Front's victory as clean gave one less excuse for What was a very real threat of a US invasion. In 1990 the FSLN defeat by the centrist UNO coalition, led by Violeta Chamorro, was widely and internationally interpreted as a sign of the institutionalised 'democratisation' of the Nicaraguan state. In 1996, the issues are just as serious
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