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.
On Thursday, supporters from Deby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party celebrated by firing guns and automatic rifles into the air in the capital’s vast Nation square. During the day, ahead of the results announcement, there was a strong military presence on the streets of the capital.
More than six million people had been asked to choose between 13 presidential hopefuls in the vote, with turnout pegged at more than 71 percent. During the polls there was an online blackout with the Internet cut and mobile phones unable to send messages.
Full Article: Chadian President Deby wins fifth term, opposition cry foul.