Legislative elections in Chad planned for November are set to be postponed to May, a member of the electoral panel organising the vote told AFP Monday. The voting date has been pushed back several times in the central African state. The original mandate of the legislature expired in June 2015, but has been prolonged. “We have scheduled the holding of the legislative elections for the month of May according to our timeline, which will be examined and possibly adopted on Friday,” said Abdramane Djasnabaille of the election commission (CNDP).
Chad’s Constitutional Council has upheld President Idriss Deby’s re-election to a fifth term, confirming the results of last month’s vote that the opposition had challenged. In final results, the council said Chad’s leader of 26 years won 59.92 percent of the vote, compared with 12.77 percent for opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo and 10.61 percent for Laoukein Kourayo Medard, mayor of Moundou city. In announcing the results, the council rejected an appeal by eight opposition candidates to invalidate the April 10 election over voting irregularities.
Chad’s veteran leader Idriss Deby has won a fifth term in office, the national electoral commission announced, extending his 26 years in power, as the opposition alleged widespread fraud. Taking more than 60 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential polls, Deby came far ahead of main opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo, who won just over 12 percent but said the vote was rigged. We “don’t recognise the outcome of this electoral stick-up”, a group of opposition politicians including Kebzabo said, alleging ballot-stuffing and the buying-up of voter cards. “Hundreds of ballot boxes have disappeared,” the group said, adding that soldiers who had intended to vote against Deby had also “disappeared”, alleging they had likely been “arrested and imprisoned”. African Union observers last week declared the elections free and fair. The organisation’s rotating presidency is currently held by Deby.
Official results have yet to be released from Chad’s April 10 presidential election. But opposition candidates say their vote count indicates the country is headed to a run-off, and they will not accept any other results. It is the latest sign of tension as President Idris Deby seeks a fifth term in office. Mahamat Ahmad Alhabo, president of the opposition Party for Liberty and Development (PLD) and spokesperson of opposition presidential candidates, says the political opposition is poised for a run-off after result sheets from their representatives in all poling stations indicated no candidate had won an absolute majority in the first round of polling Sunday.
Opposition politicians in Chad have claimed fraud during Sunday’s presidential election, but African Union (AU) observers say the poll, while flawed, was fair. Former Malian president and head of the AU observer mission to Chad, Diouncounda Traore, said issues included the late opening of polling stations in hard-to-access areas and poorly trained polling officers. He said he doesn’t know what will happen after the proclamation of the results, but the AU is urging all candidates and their followers to accept the verdict. He said those who are not satisfied with the results should contest them in the courts. Kamalloh Salifou Tourabi, leader of the Pan African Institute for Election Assistance observer mission, said that despite irregularities, voter participation was estimated at 85 percent. The opposition said there was fraud, including ballot stuffing.
The Internet remained mysteriously cut in Chad’s capital on Monday a day after elections held amid tight security, which are expected to see President Idriss Deby extend his 26-year rule. Some foreign television media, who had worked until Sunday evening, were meanwhile unable to cover the post-election situation because they had not received authorisation from the communications ministry, by the middle of the day. Mobile Internet was suspended from Sunday morning, while fixed Internet went out in the evening in N’Djamena, and text messages could not be sent over the local phone network. The online blackout, which occurred without official explanation, was preventing discussion about how the election had gone. The situation was reminiscent of that in Congo, where authorities cut all communications — Internet, phone and texts — for four days for presidential elections on March 20.
Chad voted in a presidential election on Sunday with incumbent Idriss Deby running for a fifth term in office, arguing that only his government can maintain stability in the face of a threat from Islamist militants. Boko Haram has staged a series of attacks in Chad in the past year as part of a campaign to expand its Islamist insurgency from bases in northeastern Nigeria into neighboring countries. Chad has one of the most capable armies in the region and Deby has played a key role in efforts backed by the West to combat the group, which is linked to Islamic State, as well as other militants linked to al Qaeda. “I call on Chadians to vote in calm and serenity. Our country is starting from a long way back but the future looks bright. I ask all politicians to respect the verdict of the ballot box,” Deby told journalists as he voted.
Chadian unions and rights groups on Friday pulled out of several state institutions, including the election commission, saying they felt “gagged” in the run-up to closely-watched presidential polls. The announcement of the groups’ withdrawal from Chad’s electoral commission and other bodies comes a day after the trial of four leading activists held on controversial charges of disturbing the peace was postponed, prolonging their detention. “Given the decision to maintain our comrades in detention, we have decided to withdraw” delegates from forums including the CENI (electoral commission), Goukouni Vaima, the deputy head of the UST labour federation, told a press conference.
Chad’s President Idriss Deby, in power for more than a quarter of a century, said on Tuesday he would reintroduce constitutional term limits if he won a fifth term in an election slated for April. His campaign promise came amid controversial moves by the leaders of some other African countries including Burundi, Rwanda and Congo Republic who have challenged constitutional term limits to maintain power. Deby seized power in a coup in 1990 and was most recently re-elected in 2011. A referendum in 2005 scrapped constitutional term limits before Deby won a disputed election the following year.
Voters in Chad went to the polls last Sunday for the first local elections in the central African country’s history, after the ballot had been rescheduled several times. Mayors were previously appointed directly by the central government.
Around one million people were eligible to cast their ballots, and voting appeared to be calm after polling booths opened at 7:30 am (0830 GMT). President Idriss Deby Itno voted in district No. 1 Djamabal Ngat, where some 50 voters were awaiting their turn.
The main opposition figures are boycotting after their demands for electoral reform were not met. There are concerns that the boycott could affect voters turnout. Mr Deby, who has faced two attempted coups since the last polls, has recently mended relations with Sudan, where rebel fighters were based. The BBC’s former correspondent in Chad, Celeste Hicks, says…