The Carter Center has observed elections in Nicaragua since 1989 and supported other steps by its citizens and leaders to strengthen peace and democracy in their nation after years of rule by dictators.
A decade of war and economic disintegration created deep divisions in the 1980s among Nicaraguans who supported the Sandinistas and those who supported the opposition. The Sandinista government's failed socialist policies had more than quadrupled the country's foreign debt and failed to lift Nicaraguans out of poverty. As the 1990 presidential election grew close, the international community was leery of another Sandinista win, and tensions within Nicaragua increased. In turn, the government and electoral authorities welcomed international election observers, including The Carter Center, to help ensure an election that represented the will of the people.