Early Results Point to Aleman

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MANAGUA: With thirty six percent of the vote counted, Conservative Arnoldo Aleman, the former mayor of Managua, is claiming victory in Nicaragua's second consecutive democratic election. Aleman predicted he would win a majority, avoid a runoff and end Sandinista Daniel Ortega's political comeback. Aleman is already making plans to form a national government, formed of all political forces in the country. Ortega is not conceding defeat, while Sandinista campaign chairman Alvaro Fiallos said that it was premature for Aleman to claim victory. The elections themselves were a morass of inefficient bureaucracy, hampered by delays in ballot delivery, tardy officials and power outages. Lines formed before dawn on Sunday, and many voters resolutely waited for two or three hours to cast their ballots. In spite of the hitches, outgoing President Violeta Chamorro called the election a "beautiful process." "This is what I want, that we may continue to build what we started in 1990," she said. "People wanted to vote." Frank Pellegrini