Sandinista consolidation of power advances in Nicaragua with reform of military code

Nicaragua's congress has approved a military reform that allows President Daniel Ortega's military chief of staff to remain in his post indefinitely and lets the army take a larger role in the economy. It further concentrates power in hands of the longtime president and his allies.

Ortega helped lead the 1970s uprising against dictator Anastasio Somoza, and since returning to the presidency has engineered a series of legal changes allowing him to remain in power indefinitely. His opponents warn of a return to dictatorship.

Wednesday's vote on the military came a day after the congress controlled by Ortega's Sandinista party altered the constitution to erase presidential term limits and eliminate a requirement for a candidate to receive at least 35 percent of the vote in order to win presidential election.