FSLN founded in 1961 by Marxists-Leninists who had quiet the Nicaragua Partido Socialista ( Communist Party), struggled as a tiny guirrilla movement until 1978, then emerged as the leader of the anti-Somoza coalition in the insurrection. Upon victory the FSLN marginalized its allies, took over the state , created a new party based military , and dramatically broadened its popular base. Economic deterioration , the counter-revolutionary war, and its abuses of power eroded FSLN support and brought electoral defeat in 1990; other larger parties, most quite small , numbered over 20 by 1990, larger ones included the Partido Conservador, Partido Liberal Independence, Partido Social Christiano.
Not only the party system but also the state institutions reflect Nicaragua's dramatic changes in power and regime type. The Somozas expanded the state but also captured and corrupted it. the central Bank and the national Guard became the most modern and competent agencies because they helped the Somozas rule and enrich themselves and their allies. Revolutionary governmental reorganization further expanded the size and scope of the government in its management of the economy and provision of services. FSNL penetration of the bureaucracy replaced that of the PLN. The central bank remained strong while economic planning, presidential and security ministries (interior and defence) grew rapidly. With special emergency powers and an FSLN majority during the 1980s, President Orega over shadowed the unicameral National Assembly. However, during the UNO government after 1990 the Assembly gained new policy influence. The regular judiciary , largely corrupt under the Somozas, was polarized during the revolution but sometimes acted with independence.