Chad's Interim President Deby Pledges Two-Term Limit Amid Doubts and Tensions

Chad's upcoming presidential elections in 2024 mark a pivotal moment in its transition to civilian rule, with concerns over the ability to conduct free and fair elections amid political tensions, economic and security crises, and the influx of refugees.

Waqas Arain
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Chad's Interim President Deby Pledges Two-Term Limit Amid Doubts and Tensions

Chad's Interim President Deby Pledges Two-Term Limit Amid Doubts and Tensions

Chad's interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby has promised a two-term limit for the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for May 6, 2024. However, this promise has raised doubts amid the country's ongoing political tensions.

The elections are seen as a necessary step to move from the transitional phase to a new political situation, but the tense political climate, worsening economic and security crises, and influx of refugees from neighboring countries complicate the task of holding successful elections. Chadian experts have stressed the importance of the elections to establish a new republican constitutional status, but there are concerns about the ability to conduct the elections effectively given the current challenges facing the country.

Deby, a 40-year-old four-star military general, became Chad's transitional president in 2021 after the death of his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled the country for 30 years. Deby initially promised to return power to civilian authorities within 18 months, but later delayed elections until 2024. The new constitution, approved by Chadians in a December 2023 referendum, paved the way for Deby to run in the upcoming election.

However, two of Deby's key opponents, Nassour Ibrahim Neguy and Rakhis Ahmat Saleh, were barred from running by Chad's Constitutional Council. Ten candidates, including Deby and Prime Minister Succes Masra, a former critic of Deby's administration, are cleared to run. Masra announced his presidential bid in early March 2024, which some observers see as a move by Deby to give the elections a semblance of competition.

The election campaigns officially started on April 14, with Deby pledging to prioritize Chad's security and Masra promising economic prosperity for the nearly 18 million Chadians. The first round of the presidential election will be held on May 6, and a runoff, if necessary, will take place on June 22.

Why this matters:The upcoming presidential elections in Chad mark a pivotal moment in the country's transition from military rule to civilian governance. The success of these elections will have significant implications for Chad's political stability, economic development, and regional security, as the nation grapples with ongoing challenges such as poverty, insurgency, and the impact of climate change.

The Catholic Bishops of Chad, through the Episcopal Conference of Chad (CET), have called on the transitional government to ensure the successful conduct of the presidential elections. They urge the government to guarantee the free expression of citizens' choices and the transparency of the electoral process. The bishops also call on the candidates to respect the code of good conduct they have signed and for the electorate to favor peace and dialogue.

Key Takeaways

  • Chad's interim president promises 2-term limit for 2024 elections, raising doubts.
  • Elections aim to transition from military to civilian rule, but face political, economic, and security challenges.
  • Deby, a military general, became interim president in 2021 after his father's death, delaying elections to 2024.
  • Two key opponents barred from running, but 10 candidates, including Deby and critic Masra, are cleared.
  • Catholic bishops call for free, transparent elections and for candidates to respect the code of conduct.