regarded as being sympathetic to the FSLN.
The last MyR poll and CID-Gallup polls – companies regarded as sympathising with the Nicaraguan opposition - broadly agree that Daniel Ortega has an insuperable lead on the presidential ballot.
But they disagree with Consultora Siglo Nuevo about the relative strength of support for Arnoldo Alemán and Fabio Gadea. They suggest that support for Fabio Gadea is far greater than that for Arnoldo Alemán.
Consultora Siglo Nuevo suggests that support for Arnoldo Alemán has grown rapidly over the last weeks of the electoral campaign and that he is running almost level with Fabio Gadea. That corresponds to what happened during the last national elections in 2006.
All the polls agree that Enrique Quiñonez and Roger Guevara have minimal support in the presidential ballot of around 1%.
Support for the parties on the presidential ballot does not necessarily translate into corresponding support for the parties on the two legislative ballots. So even parties whose candidates have little chance of doing well in the Presidential ballot stand a chance of getting representatives in the National Assembly and perhaps in the Central American Parliament.
Crucial questions for the current Sandinista-led government are whether they will be able to get a majority in the National Assembly and how big that majority will be.
The elections are being accompanied by teams from the European Union, from the Organization of American States, from the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts, from the regional electoral advisory institution the Tikal Protocol and from various national institutions including the National Council of Universities.
Local electoral observation NGOs, for example Etica y Transparencia, closely identified with the political opposition, have been denied accreditation to accompany the electoral process by the Nicaraguan electoral authority, which argues that such partisan organizations are unable to work with the necessary impartiality.
Voters will go to vote in over 12,000 polling stations around the country in the barrios and communities where they live.
Representatives from each party at each polling station have to sign a document at the opening of the polling station. At the time appointed for closing the polling station the representatives of each party are present at the counting of the votes and have to sign a document to close the polling station which includes the number of votes received by each party in that polling station.
A copy of that document is posted for local people to see the result. The result is communicated to the national count centre in Managua. The relevant documentation and the sealed voting urns are sent to the corresponding municipal office of the Supreme Electoral Council for subsequent transfer to the capital Managua.
Results can be impugned by representatives of the different political parties in which case the complaint is heard by the relevant municipal office of Supreme Electoral Council. If unresolved, the complaint is passed to the corresponding departmental office of the Supreme Electoral Council and if unresolved at that level, is passed to the national Supreme Electoral Council whose decision is not subject to appeal.
As the count progresses the Supreme Electoral Council issues periodic updates with the results to date.
Subsequently the results of the elections have to be published in a national newspaper.
In this electoral campaign, the opposition parties have made various false claims intended to call into question the validity and legitimacy of the elections. In fact, they themselves have given complete legitimcay to the electoral process by participating at every stage and every level as it has progressed. Not since the first ever democratic elections in Nicaragua in 1984 has any party boycotted an electoral process in the country.
This year, the opposition parties have falsely claimed that tens of thousands of people have been denied their identity card. In fact, only a few thousand identity cards remain waiting to be claimed by their owners in the relevant offices of the Supreme Electoral Council. In any case, voters have until two days prior to the elections to claim either their identity card or a temporary supplementary voting document. Expired identity cards are also valid for their owners to vote in elections until December 2012.
The opposition parties also falsely claim that Daniel Ortega's candidacy is illegal and that the very electoral authority itself is de facto. The facts refuting those spurious claims can be learned from these interviews with the heads of Nicaragua's electoral authority and its Supreme Court.
The elections take place in the context of the country's recovery from widespread damage to infrastructure. Thousands of people throughout the country were evacuated to temporary shelters as a result of flooding caused by exceptionally heavy rains. The governing Sandinista party cancelled most of its electoral campaign activities so as to focus on the nationwide relief effort.
The move reinforced even more the governing FSLN party's moral authority and electoral acceptance among the population. By contrast, the opposition parties failed to project themselves during the disaster caused by the rains as active and concerned. This is very likely to be an important factor in how people ultimately decide to vote on November 6th.
Here is Tortilla con Sal's analysis of the likely outcome of these elections made in mid-October.