Offering a hint of the antagonism that may plague Nicaragua's next government, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega has rejected partial results that show his right-wing rival headed for the presidency.
Claiming irregularities and discrepancies between official figures and his party's count, Ortega said Monday that former Managua Mayor Arnoldo Aleman's victory declaration was premature.
"At this time, we cannot recognize the results since we found a series of anomalies, especially referring to the information that arrived at (the computation center) by telegram," Ortega said.
With 54 percent of the vote counted, Aleman and his Liberal Alliance Party seem headed for the presidency today with a lead of nearly 10 percentage points over Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front.
Aleman declared victory Monday when the first results were announced, promising "to form a national government so we can all make the change" for the good of Nicaragua.
Few initially had expected any candidate to get the 45 percent of the vote needed to win outright and avoid a runoff after Sunday's election. But at latest count, Aleman has 48.5 percent to Ortega's 39 percent. Twenty-one other candidates shared the rest.
No additional results were expected until later today.