President Anastasio Somoza announced on Thursday (30 November) that he agreed to a plebiscite to decide the future leadership of Nicaragua.
INT MV General Somoza speaking to pressmen in Managua watched by newsmen (TWO SHOTS)
GV Somoza speaking
MV newsmen listening
GV Somoza speaking and newsmen listening (TWO SHOTS)
General Somoza has emphasised that his purposed plebiscite would not determine his immediate political future. General Somoza said that if he lost the plebiscite vote, then there would be a separate election with participation by all political parties, to pick a constituent Assembly which would then choose his successor. General Somoza indicated that he would not hand over power until the Constitution Assembly elected a new President.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Anastasio Somoza announced on Thursday (30 November) that he agreed to a plebiscite to decide the future leadership of Nicaragua. President Somoza's family has ruled the country for forty-years. His regime has been opposed by The Sandanista rebels who have hundreds of troops killed in clashes with government forces in recent months.
SYNOPSIS: The president gave his delegation at a news conference in the capital, Managua. He said that if the plebiscite showed that the people of Nicaragua wanted to change of leadership, he would accept that as the expression of their wishes. He added that he had also agreed to a major term of the plebiscite: a general amnesty for those who had opposed his regime.
The Broad Opposition Front has also agreed in principle to accept the plebiscite, which was proposed by a three member-country team set up by the Organisation of American States (OAS). The team had specified that the plebiscite should be held within fifty days of its being accepted by President Somoza and opposition forces. They had asked for a general amnesty, and for all exiles to be allowed to return to Nicaragua. The Sandanista Liberation Front does not belong to the Opposition Front.
The OAS team has suggested guidelines for keeping the elections free of pressure from the Somoza regime. One report said President Somoza would stay in the country while the plebiscite was held.