Nicaragua - Leadership

Bolaños is the leader of the Constitutional Liberal Party, an off-shoot of the Liberal Alliance Party of the former president, Arnoldo Alemán. The PLC won 47 seats in the 93-seat National Assembly; the Sandinistas won 43 and the Conservatives took 2, giving Bolaños what would seem a razor-thin majority. Despite the fact that Bolaños is the titular head of the PLC, many of its Assembly members are political friends of former president Alemán. It was expected that Alemán would make reform difficult for Bolaños, despite the new president's large electoral mandate. Aside from longtime corruption and graft among Nicaragua's entrenched political class, Bolaños vigorously pursued reform during his first year in office. A scandal focusing on expropriation of US $100 million in govenment funds was found to reach all the way to Alemán himself. In September 2002 the former president lost immunity from prosecution when he was stripped of his lifetime position in the National Assembly.

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