Members of the European Parliament have harshly condemned the brutal repression and intimidation of peaceful protesters in Nicaragua and called for credible elections there. They passed a non-legislative resolution on May 31.

The text, passed by 536 votes to 39, with 53 abstentions, denounces the decline in democracy and the rule of law in Nicaragua over the last decade, as well as increased corruption, often involving relatives of President Daniel Ortega.

The text also makes note of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, which states the need to respect the rule of law, democracy and human rights and asks the EU to assess possible measures. It also warns against the “serious political, economic and investment consequences” that might follow the breaches of human rights.

According to a European Parliament press release, the repression perpetrated by the Nicaraguan authorities, armed forces, police and violent groups close to the government against peaceful protestors opposing the social security reform has cost the lives of 84 people since mid-April, with more than 860 injured and over 400 arrested.

The resolution calls on Managua to immediately allow an international, independent and transparent investigation to prosecute those responsible.

The resolution is also critical of Ortega, who has been president since 2007 and was, elected three times in succession. MEPs said he has remained in power thanks to the unlawful removal of the term limits enshrined in the Constitution, “in clear breach of the right to democratic elections”.

The European Parliament demands an electoral reform that results in fair, transparent and credible elections that respect international standards.

The resolution also stresses the urgent need to fight rampant corruption within Nicaragua’s political circles and expresses concern about the links between President Ortega and other conflicts in the region.