Larger context for LACK in Corpus USbrown_UKbncw/UK_bncw.txt
The main opposition alliance, the 14-party Nicaraguan Opposition Union ( UNO), is portrayed as opportunist and divided and infiltrated by pro- contra, Somoza-era hangovers.
But a series of opinion polls have suggested, very roughly, a30-30 split with 40 per cent of the electorate undecided.
If the Sandinistas have their problems, so too does UNO.
Its presidential candidate, Mrs Violeta Chamorro, brings to the fray a symbolic appeal as the widow of the murdered publisher of La Prensa, but lacks any political experience -- a fact that becomes embarrassingly clear when she appears in public.
UNO's acceptance of US campaign fund donations and Mrs Chamorro's appointment of the former contra director, Afredo Cesar, as her adviser, has opened her to charges of collaborating with the US.
The main theme of the UNO campaign is reconciliation.
The alliance plays on the prospect of an end to the US trade embargo and increased foreign aid in the event of an UNO victory.
It has pledged to end the deeply unpopular draft and to reduce the80,000-strong army.
The US and the Soviet Union have publicly backed the electoral process, which was agreed last February.
Moscow continues as the main Sandinista financier, pumping in about $465 million in economic aid.
But given the democratic revolution on its own doorstep, the Soviet Union is now distanced from its long-time proteges.