You’d think the political party in Nicaragua  is more for organizational convenience than for conviction of principles. Nicaraguan politicians change from one political party to another as necessary to suit their own ambitions while smaller parties coalesce into alliances that later fracture into new arrangements.
Infighting and division have been an integral part of the Nicaraguan political scene since the 1800s’ Liberal-Conservative split. No other major political party came onto the scene until the FSLN took power in the 1980s. By 1990, no fewer than 20 political parties had risen in opposition to the FSLN; Doña Violeta’s UNO coalition was formed from 14 of them. In the 1996 election, 35 different parties participated either on their own or as one of five coalitions.
In 2000, new legislation made more stringent the requirements for a political party to participate in elections. While the exclusionary tactics diminished the previous election’s free-for-all, skeptics believe the purpose of the law was to deny newcomers a piece of the pie.
Four parties participated in the presidential election of 2001: the FSLN; the PLC; the Partido Conservador Nicaragüense (PCN), the moderate-right representatives of the Conservative party; and the PLC-dominated Alianza Liberal (Liberal Alliance) under Enrique Bolaños, who ultimately won the election.
Five competed in the 2006 election: the FSLN; the PLC; and three new ones—a liberal alliance by the name of ALN-PC, a Sandinista splinter party called the MRS (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista) headed by Managua’s well-loved mayor Herte Lewites, and the tiny AC party (Alternativa para Cambio) under ex-Contra rebel Eden Pastora.