Key opposition forces shut out as Chad’s leader gets clearance for elections | Election News

Presidential elections in the Central African country are scheduled to be held in May.

Chadian authorities have eliminated 10 candidates in this year’s long-awaited presidential election, blocking the candidacy of two fierce opponents of the military junta.

Chad’s Constitutional Council announced on Sunday that it would ban outspoken opposition figures Nassour Ibrahim Negi Khursami and Rakis Ahmat Saleh.

It said the application was rejected because it contained “irregularities.”

The council announced that the nominations of interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby and the country’s recently appointed prime minister Success Masra had been accepted.

The first round of presidential elections in the central African country will be held on May 6th, the second round on June 22nd, with provisional results expected on July 7th.

The election is part of Chad’s transition to democracy from rule by the military junta, one of several governments currently in power in West and Central Africa.

There have been eight coups in the region since 2020, raising concerns about democratic backsliding.

This is the first time in Chad’s history that a president and a prime minister will face off in a presidential election.

Deby initially promised an 18-month transition after taking power in 2021, when her father, a longtime ruler, was killed in clashes with rebels.

But the government later adopted a resolution that postponed elections until 2024 and allowed him to run for president, sparking protests that were violently suppressed by security forces.

In December, Chadians voted in favor of a new constitution that critics say could help strengthen Deby’s grip on power, allowing him to run for president.

Debbie confirmed her intention to run earlier this month.

Masra was previously a staunch opponent of Chad’s military government, but he fled the country in October 2022 after security forces cracked down on demonstrations in the capital N’Djamena, killing dozens of people.

He returned in November after a settlement agreement was signed guaranteeing his ability to participate in political life.

Several opposition parties have since distanced themselves from Mr. Masra.

call for boycott

Chad’s other main opposition figure, Ouakito Tamma, on Saturday called for a boycott of the presidential vote, denouncing it as a “masquerade” aimed at maintaining “dynastic dictatorship.”

The ban on opposition candidates comes less than a month after General Deby’s main rival, Yaya Dilo Jello, was shot dead in a military raid on the PSF party headquarters.

In early March, Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation into Dilo’s killing, arguing that the military violence “raises serious concerns about the environment for elections scheduled for May.”

Prime Minister Masra then promised that the government would conduct an international investigation to find responsibility for the death of the junta’s main opponent.

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