Sunday, May 19, 2024

Chad opposition candidates reject presidential poll, petition constitutional council

Mr Masra and his Transformers party alleged massive electoral fraud.

• May 14, 2024
Chad Republic election (Credit: Reuters)
Chad Republic election (Credit: Reuters)

Chad opposition candidates who lost in the presidential election have all called for annulment of the exercise after President Mahamat Idriss Deby emerged victorious in the poll.

The country’s constitutional council said after it received a petition from Succes Masra, one of the opposition candidates demanding cancellation of the May 6 poll results.

According to the state television, the central African elections management body had declared Mr Deby, the transitional president, of winning more than 61 per cent of the vote- exceeding the 50 per cent mandate needed to avoid a runoff.

His victory followed the death of his father, Idriss Deby, in 2021 and completes the country’s three-year transition from military to civilian rule.

However, the elections management declared Mr Masra second with more than 18 per cent of the votes cast.

Mr Masra and his Transformers party alleged massive electoral fraud, stuffing of ballot boxes and soldiers chasing opposition representatives from polling stations.

He also alleged that soldiers carried ballot boxes to military barracks, where government troops counted and declared the election results, instead of the elections management.

The Transformers had also claimed that scores of opposition officials and hundreds of Mr Masra supporters were arrested and detained by government troops.

Sitack Yombatina Beni, transformers’ vice president, who spoke on Monday from the Chadian capital N’djamena, said Mr Masra asked civilians to maintain peace and avoid reacting violently to ongoing provocations from Mr Deby’s supporters.

Mr Beni said it was an open secret that rights and freedoms were abused in Chad, stating that this time civilians, opposition and civil society were ready to fight back if the Constitutional Council failed to render justice and give back what he termed Masra’s stolen victory.

Mr Deby had immediately called the allegations “unfounded.”

Chad’s military government said that Mr Deby won the election, noting that some opposition parties wanted to create chaos by not respecting the vote.

Another opposition candidate who lost the election, Yacine Abdramane Sakine, said he also filed a petition asking the Constitutional Council to order the elections management to do a public recount of the votes.

However, the elections management said it was independent, adding that the results published were free, transparent, and credible, reflecting the verdict of the ballot.

Already, the constitutional council has until May 21 to rule on the petitions from the opposition candidates and proclaim definitive results.

But Chad’s transitional officials report that Mr Deby has been congratulated by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Guinea Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Kenyan President William Ruto amid the calls for the cancellation of the exercise.

The calls for the annulment of the exercise came as the media appealed the decision barring them from reporting on election-related violence.

Earlier, Chad’s journalism union condemned a government order that stopped the news media from reporting on post-election tensions and violence and ordered news organisations to desist from giving casualty figures.

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