Introduction

The Nicaraguan Constitution promulgated on January 1, 1987 provided the final step in the institutionalization of the Sandinista regime and the framework under which the Chamorro government would take office. It was the ninth constitution in Nicaraguan history. The Sandinistas' revolutionary mythology and aspirations were glorified in the preamble, and the Nicaraguan army was constitutionally named the Sandinista People's Army. Yet, even though drafted and approved by a Sandinista-dominated assembly, the constitution was not a revolutionary document. It established a democratic system of government with a mixed economy based on a separation of powers that could guarantee civil liberties. There was some discontent with parts of the new system. Early objections were raised that the executive branch was too strong, that property rights were not adequately protected, and that some of the language was vague and subject to widely differing interpretations. These objections continued to be an issue under the Chamorro government.