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Nicaraguan lawmakers reform constitution, allowing indefinite re-election for president

  • 4bb285f0f2152b034a0f6a7067009c32.jpg

    Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, right, and his wife Rosario Murillo arrive at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean are arriving in Havana to participate in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC summit. The formal meetings of heads of state begin Tuesday. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes) (The Associated Press)

  • 6e9dd09ff5d03c034a0f6a70670026db.jpg

    Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, right, and his wife Rosario Murillo arrive to the opening ceremony of the CELAC Summit in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean are in Cuba to talk about poverty and inequality at a summit of a regional bloc formed as a force for integration and a counterbalance to the U.S. (AP Photo/Adalberto Roque, Pool) (The Associated Press)

Nicaraguan lawmakers have approved constitutional changes that would allow President Daniel Ortega to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that his critics say is designed to keep the Sandinista leader in power for life.

The largely Sandinista National Assembly voted for the amendments a second time Tuesday as required for them to become law.

The changes eliminate presidential term limits and lower the bar for election by naming the candidate with the most votes as the winner. Until now, a candidate needed to garner at least 35 percent of the votes to win.

Sixty-three of the 92 deputies in the assembly belong to Ortega's party and the vote was 64-25 in favor of the changes.

Ortega is serving his third term under a Supreme Court decision that overrode the constitutional ban.