Biz leaders urge early elections to resolve Nicaragua crisis

Influential business leaders in Nicaragua are calling for early elections to resolve a political standoff between President Daniel Ortega's government and protesters demanding his exit from office.

Carlos Pellas Chamorro is the country's most prominent businessman. He said Wednesday that the Ortega government's political model is "worn out" and the solution is moving up the next election, due to take place in 2021.

Conglomerate Grupo Lafise Bancocentro also issued a statement calling for the will of the people to be heard through "the advancement of elections."

Protests that began in April over now-scrapped social security changes have since expanded into a broader movement seeking Ortega's exit.

Human rights observers say more than 80 people have been killed amid a harsh crackdown by government security forces and allied civilian groups.