Mulino’s eligibility to run for president questioned

If Mulino was not chosen in a primary, can he be RM's presidential candidate?

966Views 0Comments Posted 19/02/2024


The Electoral Code , in article 352, maintains that political parties that have more than 100 thousand adherents - such as Realizing Goals (RM) - must choose their presidential candidate through a secret vote in a primary election, writes Monica Palm in  La Prensa before going on to question if Martinelli’s replacement is eligible to run for president.  

RM chose Ricardo Martinelli as its presidential candidate in an internal election, on June 4, 2023. Three other candidates participated in that race: Rubén Darío Campos, Francisco Ameglio, and David Ochy.

Article 352 of the Electoral Code states that “the candidate for vice president will be designated by the presidential candidate and ratified by the national board” of the political party. Thus, on September 24, Martinelli proposed to his wife Marta as his running mate, which was immediately confirmed by the members of the RM board.

But on October 10, Marta de Martinelli sent a letter to the Electoral Tribunal (TE), in which she reported her resignation from that candidacy.

With Marta's resignation, the figure of José Raúl Mulino emerged: he was chosen as her replacement and ratified by the boards of directors of RM and its ally, the Alianza party, on October 14, 2023.

Along the way, Martinelli was sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in prison for money laundering in the New Business case. The sentence was handed down by criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez last July; confirmed by a higher court in October, and is now “in the process of becoming enforceable” (in the TE's own words), after the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court refused to admit an appeal filed by the defense of Martinelli, to avoid his entry into prison. Since February 7, the convicted man has been holed up in the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​waiting for the safe passage that will allow him to escape.

The TE warned Sunday that it is about to complete the disqualification process before the electoral jurisdiction. Faced with the inevitable, Martinelli tries to impose his potential votes on Mulino. “Martinelli is Mulino and Mulino is Martinelli,” they repeat in RM. Mulino, meanwhile, has said that he is “ready” to assume the presidential candidacy.

Until the lawyer Publio Cortés appeared, to remind the entire virtual community of the social network X  that article 352 of the Electoral Code exists.

Cortés recognizes that, since last June 7, Martinelli has a TE record, which accredits him as a presidential candidate for RM. Mulino's situation is very different: “No one ever voted in RM for Mulino to be a candidate or for anything,” he emphasized. His choice was “hand-by-hand.”

He understands that the New Business conviction disqualifies Martinelli, but “there is no rule that says that the candidate for vice president becomes a candidate. And he cannot rise, because he was not chosen in primary elections.”

There is also Article 177 of the Constitution, which states that with the president of the Republic, a vice president will also be chosen.

“RM cannot appear on the ballot with only a 'candidate' for president and leave the vice president box blank, because that is blatantly unconstitutional. And it cannot 'fill the vacancy' at this point either, because all the terms for appointing candidates have already passed," Cortés said.

According to his criteria, what should happen is that RM runs out of presidential payroll by May 5.

His message was soon answered by Alma Cortés (no relation) undersecretary of RM. She claims that the RM board ratified Mulino and was not chosen “by hand.”

Publio Cortes was also disqualified by former First Lady Marta. “Educate yourself before giving your opinion,” she wrote in X.