Nicaragua - Political and electoral system

Political and administrative structure

Divided politically and administratively into departments, autonomous Atlantic regions and municipalities. Comprised of 15 departments, 2 autonomous regions and 153 municipalities (Law N/1989, Art. 175).

Municipal government

Each municipality is governed and administered by a municipal council - a deliberative, normative and administrative body. Municipal councils are presided by a mayor elected from among their members. Municipalities Law. Law No. 40/1988, Art. 18.

Duration of terms

Mayors and vice-mayors serve four-year terms. They may not stand for re-election to a consecutive term for the same position (Electoral Law, Chap. V, Art. 154).

Representation system

"Mayors and vice-mayors shall be elected by relative majority in each municipality." (Electoral Law, Chap. V, Art. 154). "The election of councilpersons referred to in the preceding article shall be carried out by municipal constituency, through proportional representation by electoral quotient, using the same greater-mean methodology employed for the election of departmental or regional representatives." (Electoral Law, Chap. V, Art.157).

Type of list

Closed lists in constituencies of variable size.

Electoral constituency

Uninominal for mayors, although councilperson lists are headed by mayoral candidates. Plurinominal for councilpersons.

Quota and parity laws


Legal instruments applicable to municipalities

1987 Constitution; 1988 Municipalities Law and amendments enacted in 1997; Law on Regional Autonomy of Atlantic Territories (1987).

Electoral Justice

"The Electoral Branch shall organize, direct and supervise the election of the aforementioned authorities (....), as well as plebiscites and referenda, in accordance with the Constitution, relevant laws and the regulations enacted by the Supreme Electoral Council." Art. 2.