Guillermo Osorno, one of Nicaragua's best-known evangelical pastors, finished third in his country's recent presidential election, earning the newly founded Christian Way party seats in the Legislative Assembly—despite the fact that his strongest opponents seem to be those whose values he claims to represent.
Evangelical politician is largely regarded as an oxymoron in this country where politicians are thought of as thoroughly corrupt. Most evangelicals believe a Christian's place of service is in any arena other than government. Yet Osorno's party managed to garner more than 4 percent of the vote in October, behind Arnoldo Aleman of the Liberal Alliance (51 percent) and the Sandinista candidate, former President Daniel Ortega (38 percent).
The small yet significant percentage of votes cast for his party entitles Osorno's Christian Way to seats in the Legislative Assembly for Osorno and three other party members. These four seats represent the largest number of votes among 10 smaller parties. Neither of the two major parties can pass laws without this bloc's participation and support.
That translates into unprecedented political power in the hands of evangelicals in Nicaragua, but many believers here are wary. In the weeks following the election, a number of evangelicals have become disillusioned with Osorno and his party. Their reasons include his pre-election claims of a divine mandate to be Nicaragua's next president and fears of an under-the-table alliance with the Sandinista party.
FORMER ASSEMBLIES PASTOR: Osorno, 41, is a former Assemblies of God pastor who had a popular preaching ministry on the independent evangelical Waves of Light radio station, making him among the most recognized Christians in Nicaragua. ...1