Chad declares interim President Deby winner of disputed vote

Friday May 10 2024

Chad President Mahamat Idriss Deby arrives to cast his vote for the presidential elections in N’Djamena, Chad on May 6, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS


Chad’s military leader, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 40, has been declared winner of Monday’s long-delayed presidential election, according to provisional results by the National Elections Management Agency.

According to the election body, Deby garnered 61.03 percent of the votes cast, beating nine other candidates who were seeking to occupy the country’s topmost office. The vote puts Deby comfortably over the 50 percent needed to avoid a run off.

His main challenger, Prime Minister Succes Masra, 40, came in a distant second with 18.53 percent of the vote, results which he has disputed.

Former Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke, 58, who was runner-up in the last presidential election in 2021, came in third place with 16.91 percent.

The results were announced Thursday night, about two weeks earlier than expected. Preliminary results of the vote were initially expected on May 21. The outcome of the vote will be validated and announced by the Constitutional Council.

Chad's junta has become the first of the coup-hit countries in West and Central Africa to stage a return to constitutional rule via the ballot box, but some opposition parties have cried foul over vote-rigging concerns.


Read: Chad vote counting underway to usher in civilian rule

Provisional results

Just before the announcement, Masra claimed he had won the election with a “resounding victory” in a live broadcast on Facebook and called on security forces and his supporters to oppose what he called an attempt to steal the vote.

“A small group of individuals have refused to accept the will of a majority of Chadians, and want to reverse the order of the numbers…They believe they can make people believe the election was won by the same system that has ruled Chad for decades,” he said.

An opposition leader appointed Prime Minister of the transition government in January, Masra called on Chadians “who voted for change, who voted for me” to reject unjust results “stolen by the few who seek a dynasty”.

The disputed results cap a fraught electoral period marked by the killing of opposition figure Yaya Dillo, the rejection of prominent opposition figures from the candidate list, and other issues that critics say have compromised the credibility of the process.

Civil society and rights groups had raised concerns over the credibility and transparency of the election. The International Crisis Group (ICG) said “several problems in the run-up to the balloting cast doubt on its credibility”.

Local media reported an unusual military deployment on the streets of the capital N'Djamena hours before the announcement of the provisional results.

Read: Deby's rivals pale in comparison ahead of Chad elections


With the election, Chad has become the first of current junta-led countries in Africa to transition to democratic rule, though analysts say Deby will simply be a military leader in civilian clothes when his victory is eventually confirmed.

The presidential election is the last stage of three-year military rule, which rights groups and opposition say has been marked by deep political and social tensions in the country since April 2021.

General Deby seized power after his father, President Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled the country for over three decades, was killed by rebels on the battlefield. Deby the son had pledged to return power to civilian rule in 18 months – a deadline he did not respect, postponing the vote to this year.

Chad has been in turmoil and has never witnessed a peaceful transfer of power since independence from France in 1960.

- Additional reporting by Reuters