The Sandinista Regime and After

A provisional government, representing many parties but dominated by the Sandinistas, was formed, and it promised democratic rule, Soon, however, opponents of the Sandinistas accused them of trying to impose a Communist dictatorship. In 1981, guerrillas called Contras began attacking Sandinista forces. The Contras received military and financial aid from the United States government, which accused the Sandinistas of trying to subvert other nations in the region, especially El Salvador.

In 1984 elections were held. Amid opponents' charges of election fraud, Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinistas, became president and the Sandinistas won a majority in the legislature. In 1987 a new constitution was ratified that gave the president broad powers. In the 1990 elections, Ortega lost the presidency to Violetta Barrios de Chamorro, leader of an anti-Sandinista coalition, but the Sandinistas retained many seats in the legislature. The Contras disbanded following negotiations with Chamorro. In 1995 the Constitution was amended to decrease the power of the president and increase that of the legislature. In 1998 Hurricane Mitch devastated the country, killing more than 2,000 people.

Enrique Bolanos Geyer of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party won the 2001 presidential election, defeating Daniel Ortega. However, Ortega was reelected president of Nicaragua in 2006.