Chad | General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno elected president

(N’Djamena) General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, proclaimed head of Chadian state three years ago by the army, won Monday’s presidential election with 61.03% of the votes, according to the provisional official results of the electoral commission on Thursday.

He beat his prime minister Succès Masra who only received 18.53% of the votes, according to these results which must be validated by the Constitutional Council.

Shortly after the announcement of these results, soldiers fired automatic weapons into the air in the capital N’Djamena, out of joy and obviously to dissuade people from gathering, AFP journalists reported.

Mr. Masra had affirmed earlier in the evening that he was elected in the first round, accusing in advance Mr. Déby’s camp of having rigged the results to proclaim him elected.

The compilation of the results by his own camp “confirms the victory in the first round, that of change over the status quo,” Mr. Masra announced in a long speech on his Facebook page. “The victory is resounding and unblemished.”

“Chadians, mobilize peacefully, calmly (…) to prove your victory,” he said.

This election must mark the end of a three-year military transition and many observers believed that just 10 days ago it was a foregone conclusion in favor of the young 40-year-old general.

But the economist Masra, also 40 years old, surprised everyone by gathering considerable crowds during his campaign, to the point of becoming emboldened and saying he was capable of winning, if not of pushing Mr. Déby as far as a second round scheduled for June 22.


Masra success

The announcement of the results by the National Election Management Agency (ANGE), composed and appointed by the military power, was anticipated by 12 days on the official calendar, leaving room for all speculation.

On Monday, eight other candidates competed against MM. Déby and Masra, but as they were little known or not considered hostile to power, they had no chance of winning more than a few votes.

“Pilot and co-pilot”

As soon as he announced his candidacy, Masra indicated that he was participating to perpetuate the current crew of “pilot and co-pilot” (Mr. Déby and him, Editor’s note) of a plane flying “towards democracy”.

His former allies from an opposition very violently repressed and muzzled for three years accused him of being a “traitor” who rallied to the junta and denounced a candidacy supposed to give a “democratic veneer” to an election “predicted in advance” in favor of the general, in order to prolong a “Déby dynasty” almost 34 years old.

After 30 years of ruling Chad with an iron fist, Marshal Idriss Déby Itno was killed by rebels in April 2021 while going to the front, and the army immediately proclaimed his son Mahamat Transitional President at the head of a junta of 15 generals.

Three years later, the young general tried to legitimize his presidency at the polls. Many observers predicted until recently that it would be a formality, as for his father, officially elected and re-elected comfortably six times after his 1990 coup.

But international NGOs have expressed doubts about an election “neither free nor credible” after the junta had violently repressed, even bloodily, all opposition and removed General Déby’s most serious rivals from the presidential race.


One of them, Mahamat Déby’s own cousin and his fiercest opponent, Yaya Dillo Djérou, was killed on February 28 by soldiers who had stormed his party headquarters. The opposition assures that he was “assassinated”, with a “shot to the head at point blank range”.

The existence of a “system of fraud for several elections” would have pushed Mr. Masra’s camp to distrust the ANGE, responsible for counting the votes, assures AFP an executive of the party of Mr. Masra, who requires anonymity.

In tune with the rest of the opposition which called for a boycott of the vote, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) was concerned on May 3 about an “election which seems neither credible, nor free, nor democratic,” “in a deleterious context marked by (…) the multiplication of human rights violations”.

On Wednesday, Mr. Masra’s Les Transformateurs party denounced “serious threats” against its leader and his supporters as well as “violence and arbitrary arrests” against the latter since the election, as well as fraud. And called on “the people” to “defend their will expressed at the ballot box”.


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