Officials in Chad have announced that they will continue with Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno in his role as head of state during the interim phase after extending the transition period towards democratic elections. The delegates also agreed that the head of the military should be allowed to run for President in the next election.
The decisions were taken by a national reconciliation discussion forum, which was boycotted by the majority of opposition members, two out of the three main armed rebel factions, and civil society organizations.
The Forum reached a decision to “prolong the transition for a maximum of 24 months” by voting “consensus” on a proposed measure. Since becoming independent from France in 1960, the African country of Chad, which is always ranked as one of the poorest in the world, has been hit by a number of rebellions and times of civil unrest. It was also voted by the hundreds of delegates that Deby would not only remain in his role as president of the transitional government, but that he would also be entitled to run for president when elections were held. According to Chadian political scientist Evariste Ngarlem, these measures will be met with “opposition from political parties, civil society, and the African Union.”
According to Ngarlem, neither the European Union nor the United States would recognize Deby’s right to run for office, nor would they acknowledge the need for a longer transition phase. “These partners will impose penalties on Chad,” the expert continued, using the junta’s official name, the Transitional Military Council. As a result, the junta’s back will be against the wall. According to a statement made by a government spokeswoman named Abderaman Koulamallah, there will be a discussion on Monday before an official decision is disclosed.
After his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled the country with an iron grip for the previous 30 years, was assassinated in April of the previous year during a military operation against rebels, Deby took over as leader of the country. He had promised before that he would hand over power to civilians after 18 months, and that time was coming up this month.
In addition, Deby assured the Chadian people as well as the world community that he would not be a candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections. As soon as the 15 generals who made up the junta took power, they tore up the constitution, got rid of Parliament, and got rid of the government.
The international community had asked Deby not to run for president in the final elections and not to extend the transition period beyond 18 months. They also advised him not to extend the transition period beyond 18 months. But in June of the year before, the chairman of the junta dealt a blow to these hopes when he said that there could be another 18 months of transition “if the Chadians can’t agree” on the way forward.
In addition to this, he stated at the time that he would give God the final say over whether or not he would run for president. Changes to the Constitution and other reforms were supposed to be finalized as a result of the national dialogue, which finally started on August 20 after being delayed several times.
During the course of the discussions, Chad’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahamat Zene Cherif tendered his resignation on September 20, alleging that the junta had marginalized him. Cherif sent Deby a letter of resignation in which he accused the junta of “repetitive and untimely” interference and said that he had been “thwarted by parallel initiatives and actions by certain members of your cabinet and of the government.”