URGENT Opposition Claims Victory In Stunning Upset
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, the steel-haired symbol of democracy, claimed victory Monday over President Daniel Ortega and the leftist Sandinista party that has ruled Nicaragua for 10 1/2 years.
″This is the first time the opposition has ever won (in Nicaragua),″ said Mrs. Chamorro in a speech to supporters.
At 3 a.m, nine hours after the polls closed, the Supreme Electoral Council announced that Mrs. Chamorro had 202,417 votes, or 54 percent, to Ortega’s 159,100, or 42.5 percent, with 30.6 percent of precincts reporting.
″I am very happy,″ said Mrs. Chamorro as she left her house to go to campaign headquarters and speak to her supporters.
″The people wanted a change,″ she said when asked how she won.
Asked if she thought a transfer of power would be smooth, she said, ″That’s the commitment. We want peace and reconciliation.″
Celebrations began breaking out in various neighborhoods of Managua, with people burning many of the thousands of Sandinista banners that had been draped across Managua’s streets.
However, the celebrations appeared to die down quickly, and only a few fires were set.