Junta Leader Deby Wins Chad Presidential Election

In Chad, after a generation under his father’s rule, Mahamat Deby Itno solidifies the family’s hold on power by winning the presidency.Declared victorious in the May 6 presidential elections, Chad’s military head, Mahamat Deby Itno, clinched a win in votes criticized for lacking freedom and fairness.

This triumph perpetuates the Deby family’s control for decades in this key nation important for combating jihadist movements in the Sahel region.

On Thursday, the election overseeing body ANGE reported preliminary results indicating Deby’s lead with 61.3% over Prime Minister Succes Masra’s 18.5%.

Awaiting confirmation from the Constitutional Council, Deby’s triumph surpasses the 50% threshold, eliminating the need for a second round.

Subsequent to the win announcement, military forces were stationed in N’Djamena and other key cities for security purposes, as reported by dpa.

After three years under military governance, the delayed election concluded with Deby, a career military man known also as Mahamat Idriss Deby, assuming the transitional presidency post his father’s demise in 2021, who had ruled for 30 years.

Anticipated Victory for Deby

The outcome was largely expected by analysts observing the political landscape of the nearly 18 million populated Central African nation.

Human rights advocate Jean-Bosco Manga highlighted that the election results should surprise no one, given the political maneuverings since Deby’s ascent to power.

According to Remadji Hoinathy, a senior researcher in Chad for the Institute for Security Studies, Deby’s landslide victory was anticipated.

Violence against the opposition includes the February assassination of Deby’s main contender and cousin, Yaya Dillo Djerou, whose party accuses an army attack for his death.

Deby has also manipulated key electoral bodies by filling them with loyalists of himself and his MPS party.

“From the onset, ANGE’s composition, heavily influenced by allies of the declared president, doomed the chances of other contenders,” Hoinathy conveyed to DW.

Critique also falls on ANGE for its allowance to disclose provincial tallies over individual polling station results, rendering independent verification impractical.

The Constitutional Council, tasked with approving candidatures and election results, barely exudes impartiality as a former MPS executive, appointed by Deby, leads it, according to Enrica Picco and Charles Bouëssel of the International Crisis Group.

The European Union earlier voiced dissatisfaction over Chad’s prohibition of some 3,000 EU-funded civil society observers for the presidential poll.

Violence Concerns

Before the election results, Succes Masra condemned the potential rigging efforts in a Facebook post.

Once a formidable opposition leader, Masra’s acceptance of the prime minister role upon his return from exile has led some to view him as compromised.

Masra’s perceived betrayal saddened much of his support base, state Picco and Bouëssel.

Masra urged the nation’s military and security forces to dissent from following unjust orders, promoting protests.

Analyst Hoinathy expresses concern over potential violence triggered by a widespread disbelief in the election’s integrity, reminiscent of the 2022 incident where protests faced lethal force.

“The possibility of violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement could lead to further tragic outcomes,” noted Hoinathy.

“Serious mediation is now imperative to prevent violence. It’s critical that all stakeholders involved with Chad recognize their vital role in steering the country away from bloodshed,” he emphasized.

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