For some 30 years, Daniel Ortega and his erstwhile Sandinista revolutionaries have been loathed by Nicaragua’s traditional economic elite.

But with presidential elections due on 6 November, there appears to be only one thing some business leaders fear more than an Ortega re-election victory and that is an Ortega defeat.

Across Nicaragua, giant pink billboards show a smiling President Ortega waving to voters amid a busy clutter of psychedelic swirls, blue hearts and a jumble of words relating to Christianity, love, wellbeing, peace and solidarity.

That message of fluorescent friendliness is reinforced by thousands of Sandinista supporters, including government workers, who every day dress dutifully in party-supplied T-shirts.

Indeed, Mr Ortega’s re-election campaign – his sixth consecutive bid for the presidency since 1984 – seems to draw influences from a curious combination of the New Testament, the Flower Power movement, and a trendy fashion catalogue.

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