MANAGUA (Reuters) – Former Nicaraguan president Enrique Bolanos, a conservative who challenged corruption on the right even as he remained a steadfast adversary of his leftwing successor Daniel Ortega, has died at the age of 93, his family said on Tuesday.
The Ortega government announced three days of mourning for Bolanos, who served as president from 2002-2007.
“With great sadness the family of engineer Enrique Bolanos Geyer, former president of the Republic of Nicaragua, announces the passing of their beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather,” his relatives said in a statement.
Trained as an engineer, Bolanos led Nicaragua’s main business lobby in the 1980s. He had his properties confiscated and was twice jailed as a counter-revolutionary during an earlier Ortega presidency, following the ousting of the Somoza family from power in the Sandinista uprising of 1979.
Bolanos remained at loggerheads with Ortega’s Sandinistas and defeated his old adversary in the 2001 presidential election. Once in power, he denounced corruption under his predecessor as president, fellow conservative Arnoldo Aleman.
During his administration, Bolanos had no majority in the national assembly and his legislative agenda was largely frustrated by lawmakers loyal to Ortega and Aleman.
Still, his presidency was remembered for advances in securing greater rights for women in Nicaragua.
After he left office, he retired from politics to found a library bearing his name, where he compiled documents and archives on the history of Nicaragua.
(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Editing by Peter Graff)