Politics of Nicaragua takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Between 2007–2009, Nicaragua’s major political parties discussed the possibility of going from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Their reason: there would be a clear differentiation between the head of government (Prime Minister) and the head of state (President). Nevertheless, it was later argued that the true reason behind this proposal was to find a legal way for current President Ortega to stay in power after January 2012 (this is when his second and last government period ends).

The armed forces of Nicaragua consists of various military contingencies. Nicaragua has an Army, Navy and Air Force.


There are roughly 14,000 active duty personnel, which is much less compared to the numbers seen during the Nicaraguan Revolution. Although the army has had a rough military history, a portion of its forces, which were known as the National Guard became integrated with what is now the National Police of Nicaragua. In essence, the police became a gendarmerie. The National Police of Nicaragua are rarely, if ever, labeled as a gendarmerie. The other elements and manpower that were not devoted to the National Police were sent over to cultivate the new Army of Nicaragua.

The age to serve in the armed forces is 17 and conscription is not imminent. As of 2006, the military budget was roughly 0.7% of Nicaragua’s expenditures.