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Chad’s President Deby emerges victorious in tight election battle against prime minister



Military leader Mahamat Idriss Deby has won the presidential election in Chad, securing over 61 percent of the vote and eliminating the need for a run-off. Deby took over as interim president after his father, the late President Idriss Deby, was killed in April 2021. However, his rival in the race, Prime Minister Succes Masra, has rejected the election results, alleging rigging by Deby and government officials.

Masra declared himself the winner in a Facebook live broadcast and called on his supporters and security forces to back his claim to the presidency. The election results came earlier than expected and have raised questions about the fairness and credibility of the vote. Chad is the first of the military-led countries in the Sahel region to hold a democratic election, with neighboring countries like Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso experiencing coups that have left military leaders in charge.

Deby, a lifelong soldier, has faced criticism for stifling opposition and maintaining a grip on power. His government extended the transition period until 2024, allowing him to remain in office in the interim. Chad, a former French colony, is the last country in the Sahel region with a French military presence. Security forces have been deployed in the capital of N’Djamena in case of unrest following the election results.

The presidential race was historic as it was the first time an incumbent faced his prime minister in the polls. Deby had promised “free and democratic elections” within 18 months of taking office in 2021, but his government extended the transition period. The election saw violence and allegations of election-rigging, with opposition figures facing challenges in running for office. Deby’s victory allows him to hold onto the presidency with a voter mandate in the central African country.

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