Chad further postpones transition to democracy, agreeing for Deby to stay on

Chad further postpones transition to democracy, agreeing for Deby to stay on

Officials in Chad on Saturday (October 1) extended the transition period towards democratic elections, saying they will keep the head of the military junta Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on as head of state in the interim.

Delegates taking part in a national reconciliation dialogue forum also agreed for the military leader to be eligible to run for the presidency when elections are held. This decision was made even though Deby had earlier pledged to hand back power to civilians after 18 months, a deadline that would run out this month and also that he would not run in the eventual presidential elections. The forum has been boycotted by most opposition members, two out of three key armed rebel groups and civil society organizations.

In announcing the move Ahmat Barchire, rapporteur of the National Sovereign Inclusive Dialogue (DNIS) said that “on the transition, the commission noted that there was a broad consensus to set it at a maximum of 24 months.”

But these decisions will face “resistance from political parties, civil society and the African Union,” said Chadian political scientist Evariste Ngarlem, adding that “neither the European Union nor the United States would accept Deby’s eligibility to run or the extended transition period.“

Deby took over in April last year after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, the country’s ruler for 30 years, was killed during a military operation against rebels. Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, has endured repeated uprisings and unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960.

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