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Back to Index of of Emergency Legislative Activities

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I. Introduction

The Constitution mandates that one of the functions of the National Assembly is to approve, reject or modify an Executive Decree that declares a State of Emergency suspension of constitutional rights and guarantees, as well as its extensions.[1] The Organic Law of the Legislative Branch charges the Plenary of the National Assembly with the execution of this constitutional mandate.[2]

Once the Secretary of the National Assembly has received a State of Emergency Decree from the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly will immediately call a session. The National Assembly will discuss the executive decree in a single session and without passing it on to a committee.[3] The National Assembly may approve, reject or modify by means of a legislative decree the executive decree that declared the State of Emergency, as well as its extensions when they are submitted to it.[4] If a State of Emergency decree is not sent to the National Assembly within 72 hours of its declaration, it loses its validity.[5]

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II. Emergency Parliament

The Organic Law of the Legislative Branch does not provide any arrangements in the National Assembly for a designated subgroup of members to constitute a kind of “emergency legislature” with devolved powers from the whole legislature to address crisis situations. Neither does the Organic Law appear to address how the legislature operates its offices when its members and staff are unable to travel or movement is restricted.

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III. Work During Pandemic

The Constitution provides that the President of the Republic, in the Council of Ministers, may decree, for all or part of the national territory and for a determined and extendable time, the suspension of rights and guarantees, when demanded by national security, economic conditions or in the event of a national catastrophe. It also provides that an Emergency Law will regulate the decree’s form.[6]

No information has been found indicating that the government of Nicaragua has implemented preventive measures to protect its inhabitants from the imminent threat of COVID-19, such as border closures, travel restrictions or the imposition of mandatory quarantines. On the contrary, there is information indicating that the government has ignored the threat of the epidemic despite the fact that the first case of COVID-19 in the country has been registered already.[7]

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Prepared by Norma Gutiérrez
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
March 2020

[1] Constitución Política de la República de Nicaragua, art. 138(28), originally published in La Gaceta, Diario Oficial [L.G.] (Official Gazette), on Jan. 9, 1987, published with all its amendments in L.G. Feb. 18, 2014,

[2] Ley No. 606, art. 33(34), Ley Orgánica del Poder Legislativo, La Gaceta, Diario Oficial [L.G.], Feb. 6, 2007,  as amended, L.G. Sept. 5, 2019,

[3] Id. art. 133. 

[4] Id. art. 134.

[5] Id. art. 135.

[6] Constitución Política de la República de Nicaragua art. 185.

[7] Jeff Ernst, Nicaraguan Government Ignores Coronavirus and Prepares for Large Easter Celebrations, Without Church, Univision (Mar. 22, 2020),

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020