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

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.