President Ortega positions his wife Rosario Murillo to become president if he leaves office before his term is out.

TODAY NICARAGUA (Managua) Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega officially began his third successive (fourth overall) term on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 this time with his wife as vice president as he tightens his decade-long grip over one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

The ex-rebel leader has ruled Nicaragua for 20 of the past 37 years. His new mandate, delivered in a landslide November election victory, will see him in office until 2022.

His wife Rosario Murillo’s elevation to vice president — she was already his official spokesperson and the public face of his government — positions her to become president if Ortega, 71, leaves office before his term is out.

Heavy security was evident ahead of the inauguration ceremony in the capital Managua, with the deployment of elite police units backed by dog handlers and the closure of surrounding roads.

VIPs attending included Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, Bolivian President Evo Morales and El Salvador’s leader, Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

The absence of other Central American heads of state underlined the rocky state of Ortega’s relations with his neighbors.

Ortega has instead courted nations with an anti-US bent, including Russia and Venezuela.


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Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.