PC: AFP

Chadians go to the polls on Monday after three years of military rule following the death of long-time ruler Idriss Déby, the first presidential election in Africa's Sahel region since a wave of coups.

Mahamat …"> PC: AFP

Chadians go to the polls on Monday after three years of military rule following the death of long-time ruler Idriss Déby, the first presidential election in Africa's Sahel region since a wave of coups.

Mahamat …">

AEP

Chad votes for president after three years of military rule

Posted on  May 6, 2024 
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Chad votes for president after three years of military rule

PC: AFP

Chadians go to the polls on Monday after three years of military rule following the death of long-time ruler Idriss Déby, the first presidential election in Africa's Sahel region since a wave of coups.

Mahamat Idriss Déby has been serving as transitional president since taking power after his father Idriss Déby, who ruled Chad for 30 years, was killed in battle in April 2021. 

Déby has promised to bolster security, strengthen the rule of law and increase electricity production. But his chief opponent has been drawing larger-than-expected crowds on the campaign trail.

The vote coincides with a temporary withdrawal of US troops from Chad, an important Western ally in a region of West and Central Africa courted by Russia and wracked by jihadism.

Polls open at 7am and close at 5pm, with some 8.5 million people registered to vote. Soldiers began early voting on Sunday.

Provisional results are expected by May 21 and final results by June 5. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes, a run-off will be held on June 22.

Since replacing his father at the helm of the oil-producing Central African country, Déby has remained close with former colonial power and longtime ally France.

While other junta-ruled Sahel countries including MaliBurkina Faso and Niger have told Paris and other Western powers to withdraw and turned to Moscow for support, Chad remains the last Sahel state with a substantial French military presence.

The US, however, announced a temporary withdrawal of at least some troops last month, saying it would continue with a review of security operations after the election.

Opposition concerns 

Monday's vote pits Déby against his prime minister, Succès Masra, previously a political opponent who fled into exile in 2022 but was allowed back a year later. Also running are former prime minister Albert Pahimi Padacké and seven other candidates.

Yaya Dillo, an opposition politician who had been expected to run against Déby despite coming from the same clan, was shot and killed in the capital N'Djamena on February 28, the day the election date was announced.

Padacké has accused Masra of collaborating with Déby. But Masra has attracted large crowds to his own rallies. 

Some opposition members and civil society groups have called for a boycott, citing concerns about possible vote-rigging. That has raised fears of potential violence.

"This presidential election is of capital importance for the country because an entire people aspires for change," said Baniara Yoyana, a former minister and magistrate.

"The process must be conducted with transparency to avoid any risk of confrontation."

One Déby supporter, however, said he expected no problems. "We want the election to go well and peacefully," said Abdelkhader Sougui, a 28-year-old student.

Source: FRANCE 24 with Reuters

Follow the African Elections Project on Facebook and Twitter @Africanelection for more updates.


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