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Nicaragua Leader's Immunity Is Upheld

October 27, 2005|From Reuters

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Congress on Wednesday rejected a commission's recommendation to lift President Enrique Bolanos' immunity and blocked a bid to prosecute him on election fraud charges.

The rejection was a further easing of a political crisis in Nicaragua that the United States had called a "creeping coup," and it shielded Bolanos, a U.S. ally, from facing charges of failing to disclose the origin of campaign funds.

The vote came after Congress last week postponed until January 2007 changes in the law that would have weakened Bolanos by giving the legislature jurisdiction to name officials to influential posts.

Those changes will take effect after Bolanos ends his five-year term in the poverty-stricken Central America nation.

Bolanos had been increasingly isolated since he led an anti-corruption drive against his presidential predecessor and former ally, Arnoldo Aleman, now serving a 20-year sentence for fraud and money laundering.

The Constitutional Liberal Party turned its back on Bolanos after Aleman's imprisonment, and the president has had little support in Congress.

But in Wednesday's vote the party rejected the commission's recommendation.

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