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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sandinistas Seeking Comeback As Nicaraguans Prepare to Vote

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- At the close of Nicaragua's presidential campaign, Sandinista candidate Daniel Ortega pledged not to repeat the extremes of the past if given a chance to govern again.


Ortega, who led Nicaragua's leftist, Cuban-influenced Sandinista regime of the 1980s, delivered his final campaign speech Wednesday before tens of thousands gathered in a muddy plaza.


Ortega acknowledged the Sandinistas made mistakes during their time in power, but said: "These errors will not repeat themselves."


Main opponent Arnoldo Aleman, a conservative former mayor of Managua, leads in most polls ahead of Sunday's election, but the race is too close to call. Aleman has maintained that Ortega would return Nicaragua to the civil war and economic privations of the Sandinista era, while Ortega has tried to link Aleman to the brutal dictatorship that preceded the Sandinistas.


More than 50,000 people are estimated to have died in Nicaragua in the late 1970s and in the 1980s, first in the fight against dictator Anastasio Somoza and then in the Contra-Sandinista war.


In his own final campaign rally, Aleman urged voters not to return the country to the "nightmare of the past."


For his part, Ortega spoke of reconciliation, and stood next to his vice presidential candidate, a member of a group that had land and other property confiscated by the Sandinista government.