Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is rejecting calls for early elections as a solution to a political crisis in which more than 250 people have been killed amid a heavy-handed crackdown on protests. Ortega said late Saturday that the Central American country’s constitution sets the rules and they “cannot be changed overnight.” He said protesters who are demanding he leave office are “coup mongers” and said they should “seek the vote of the people” if they want to govern.
Ortega’s current term runs through 2021.
The president also blamed those who oppose him for the killings since the onset of protests in April. Human rights groups say most of the dead are young protesters killed by police and civilian groups allied to Ortega’s political movement.