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.
“I would like to express my satisfaction at seeing the first local elections held in our country,” he said, urging citizens to “come out massively now to choose the managers of their cities. I ask the entire political class to keep calm, that’s extremely important,” he said. “Our country does not need turmoil after or during the elections.” Deby, who has ruled Chad since 1990, was reelected in April 2011 with 83 percent of the vote. His Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) won an absolute majority in parliament two months earlier.
The opposition said both elections were rigged but decided to take part in the local elections. Several observers say they may win many municipalities.
Full Article: AFP: Chad holds first local elections.