Post-election clashes erupted last week between supporters of Ortega and opposition leader Fabio Gadea [Reuters]

Nicaragua's electoral council has officially declared Daniel Ortega the winner of November 6 presidential elections, rejecting appeals by two opposition candidates who alleged fraud.

At a news conference on Tuesday, council president Roberto Rivas confirmed Ortega's re-election to a five-year term with 62.4 per cent of the vote.

His two main rivals, Fabio Gadea, who came in second with 30.9 per cent, and Arnoldo Aleman, a former president who got six per cent, charged fraud following complaints of voting irregularities, post-election clashes in the cities of Siuna and San Jose de Cusmapa and protests in the capital Managua. 

The electoral council's results are "the manifestation of a monstrous fraud against the popular will".

- Fabio Gadea, opposition leader

Gadea called the electoral council's results "the manifestation of a monstrous fraud against the popular will".

A team of monitors from the European Union said last Tuesday that the vote was directed "by electoral authorities that were not completely independent nor impartial and who didn't fulfil their duty of transparency and of collaborating with all parties".

The team also said that the electoral council showed bias by allowing the people overseeing several polling places to come from only Ortega's Sandinista Party.

Ortega, 66, is the leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front which overthrew the regime of Anastasio Somoza in 1979. The win marks Ortega's third term in office.

Ortega managed to seek re-election after the supreme court, dominated by his Sandinista appointees, overruled the two-term limits in 2009 set by the constitution.

Source: Agencies