Nine months after Sandanista guerrillas overthrew the regime of dictator President Anastasio Somoza, in Nicaragua, the country's first Legislative Assembly opened on Monday (5 May).
GV Councillors seated
TV Truck Authorities being applauded as they enter
TV Government authorities applauded as they enter wearing uniforms (2 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV President of Council of State Commander Bayardo Arce opening the session
GV Members seated
CU Junta member Sergio Ramirez speaking in Spanish
SV Members applaud
GV AND SV Members standing and applauding as Commander Eden Pastora hands Nicaraguan flag to Council (3 shots)
SV Commander Pastora embraced by Council members before he bows to applause
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Background: Nine months after Sandanista guerrillas overthrew the regime of dictator President Anastasio Somoza, in Nicaragua, the country's first Legislative Assembly opened on Monday (5 May). The forty-seven member Council of State will act under the guidance of the country's governing junta, now reduced to three members, since the resignation of two moderates.
SYNOPSIS: The Assembly is made up of Sandanista Commanders and representatives of non-political organisations, business groups, labour leaders and churchmen. Of the forty-seven seats, the Sandanistas control twenty-four.
The Sandanista Directorate, the country's effective leadership, has been facing a growing crisis, with business organisations threatening to boycott the Council. They were protesting what they alleged was Sandanista moved toward one-party rule.
In its first act, the Council elected as its President, Commandante Ballardo Arce, who told the members the National Sandanista Liberation Front hoped the Council would help achieve national unity.
Junta member Sergio Ramirez assured the new Assembly that the Sandanista government would not falter in its revolutionary course. But, he said, at the same time, it would continue to maintain a mixed economy and a political system which tolerated non-Sandanista parties. The junta is said to have made several compromises to reassure the private sector, including the passing of a law giving private citizens the right to appeal against government action in the courts.
One of the highlights of the opening was the presentation of the Nicaraguan flag, taken during the capture of the National Palace last August. Sandanista Commander Eden Pastora, who headed the guerilla group at the capture, presented the symbol of victory
The Council's first tasks will include drafts for new electoral laws, a constitution and local administration reforms.