Nicaragua opposition party chooses new presidential candidate

September 20, 2016 6:53 PM EDT

Nicaragua's Liberal Independent Party (PLI) presidential candidate Jose del Carmen Alvarado and vice presidential candidate Yadira Rios (centre, R) pose for a picture after a news conference in Managua, Nicaragua September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas


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MANAGUA (Reuters) - A Nicaraguan opposition party on Tuesday chose a new presidential candidate to compete against incumbent Daniel Ortega in a November election after its previous contender dropped out.

Jose del Carmen Alvarado, a 66-year-old dentist, will run as the candidate of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), replacing Pedro Reyes, a lawyer who announced his resignation on Monday after failing to secure financing for his campaign.

The party had just 2.2 percent of voter support last week, according to an opinion poll ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

"You will see in the next poll how this will be reversed," Alvarado told reporters.

In July, Reyes sparked opposition anger when the National Assembly accepted a decision by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal at Reyes' behest to throw out 16 PLI deputies who had refused to support him as leader.

Reyes' opponents, who had declared themselves independent, accused him of being in league with Ortega, and the move stirred fears that opposition was being snuffed out in Nicaragua.

Ortega, 70, a former Marxist rebel from the Sandinista National Liberation Front, is backed by nearly two thirds of the voters, the poll showed.

(Reporting by Ivan Castro; Editing by David Gregorio)



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