Nicaragua's Catholic bishops conference, which will mediate a national dialogue after a wave of violent protests last month left at least 45 people dead, called Thursday for the creation of "an authentic democracy" in this Central American nation.
"We believe that the goal of this national dialogue should be to revise the political system of Nicaragua to achieve an authentic democracy," Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said, reading from a statement.
No date has yet been proposed for the dialogue, which is being organized by President Daniel Ortega's administration and the business community to put an end to the social and political crisis.
University students who have led the protest movement against the government made their participation in the dialogue conditional on the establishment of an "immediate investigation" regarding last month's clashes between demonstrators and the police.
The Catholic church said "the issue of the disheartening deaths during the student protests should be completely clarified."
The bishops conference explained that their proposal includes a provision for a pause one month into the dialogue for the mediators to evaluate the intentions and sincerity of the parties.
Protests began after Ortega proposed a social security reform that included a 0.75 percentage point increase in monthly worker contributions, a 3.5-point increase in employer's contributions and a 5 percent reduction in pensions in exchange for better health coverage.
The protests continued even after the president announced he was scrapping the controversial social security reform.
Some Nicaraguans are now demanding that Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo - the country's vice president - resign.