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14 Opposition Parties Unite to Oppose Sandinistas

September 7, 1989

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Fourteen parties formally united Thursday to oppose the ruling Sandinistas in the February general election.

Gustavo Tablada, spokesman for the National Opposition Union, said the alliance would be registered Friday with the National Council of Parties and the Supreme Electoral Council.

All parties in the alliance approved Violeta Barrios de Chamorro as the opposition presidential candidate last Saturday, but disagreement arose over the choice of Virgilio Godoy, a former Sandinista, for vice president. Mrs. Chamorro is publisher of La Prensa, Nicaragua’s only opposition newspaper.

When the split over Godoy appeared to widen, four parties asked the electoral council to extend the Friday deadline for registration.

All 14 parties, from conservative to Communist, signed a founding document Thursday that allows parties to withdraw and others to join.

Only a unified opposition is considered to have a chance against the Sandinistas in the election, scheduled for Feb. 25.

″This is our weapon, the unity of the Nicaraguan people so that from today on our nation can once again be a republic,″ Mrs. Chamorro said after the signing at opposition headquarters. ″We hope Ortega fulfills his promises of clean elections.″

President Daniel Ortega is expected to run as the candidate of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front, which overthrew the pro-American government of the late President Anastasio Somoza in July 1979.

Godoy, labor minister in the Sandinista government from 1979 to 1984, was chosen as the opposition vice presidential candidate over businessman Enrique Bolanos. Some on the right see him as too liberal.

Members of the opposition alliance are the Popular Social Christians, Liberal Independents, Liberal Constitutionalists, Socialists, Democratic Movement, Social Democrats, Communists, Popular Conservative Alliance, National Action, National Confidence Democrats, Neoliberals, National Conservatives, Central American Integrationists and National Conservative Action.

Nicaragua has seven other small parties that are not in the alliance.

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