Ortega's government is undermining Nicaraguan election, OAS says

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FILE PHOTO: Nicaraguans exiled in Costa Rica protest against the government of President Daniel Ortega, in San Jose

(Reuters) - The Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday expressed "alarm" over Nicaraguan government actions it says will undermine the Nov. 7 election in which President Daniel Ortega will seek a fourth consecutive term.

The OAS permanent council adopted a resolution to urge fair elections and the release of presidential candidates and political prisoners, many of whom have been jailed by Ortega's government in recent months.

With the approval of 26 countries, the resolution seeks to "record alarm at... the government of Nicaragua's efforts to subvert the electoral process" and "express grave concern" that the council's efforts to ensure fair elections have been "ignored."

Seven countries abstained, and Nicaragua was absent, the Washington-based OAS said on Twitter.

"The state of democracy in Nicaragua is not just a problem for Nicaraguans, it's a problem for everyone," OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in announcing the resolution.

Ortega's government has become increasingly isolated and criticized internationally for its crackdowns against the president's opponents and critical media in the Central American country he has dominated since returning to power 15 years ago.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez and Raul Cortes, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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