Chad Junta’s Main Opponents Barred From Presidential Vote

On Sunday, Chadian authorities announced that ten candidates, including two fierce opponents of the military dictatorship, would be forbidden from running in the May 6 presidential election.

The constitutional court stated that the candidates’ petitions, including those of vociferous opponents Nassour Ibrahim Neguy Koursami and Rakhis Ahmat Saleh, were denied due to “irregularities”.

Ten other candidates remain in the campaign, including incumbent junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno and his prime minister, Succes Masra.

In 2021, a junta of 15 generals named General Deby Itno as president following the death of his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled the Sahel country with an iron grip for more than three decades.

The new president promised to transfer power to a civilian government within 18 months and informed the African Union that he would not run for president.

However, he then extended the transition time by two years before announcing his candidacy for President on March 2.

Succes Masra, a former opposition leader, reached a reconciliation agreement with the junta leader earlier this year.

The opposition claims his candidacy is a ruse to add a semblance of pluralism to an election that Deby Itno will undoubtedly win because his primary challengers are dead or in exile.


“Those in power don’t want to face a credible opposition in the polls,” Koursami, a candidate for the GCAP, one of the main opposition platforms in Chad, told AFP.

He said only the names of “candidates who will accompany the head of the junta during the presidential election” had been approved.

The constitutional council also announced it was opening a preliminary investigation for alleged forgery and use of forged documents against Koursami over suspicions of papers in support of his candidacy.

“All the arguments used do not hold up,” Rakhis Ahmat Saleh, representing the Party for Democratic Renewal in Chad, said.

He accused the constitutional body of “manoeuvres” to rule out candidates “without good reason”.

Constitutional expert Ahmat Mahamat Hassan said that, effectively, there would not be an election.

“In reality, it’s about choosing candidates who accompany the junta chief for the confirmation of maintaining the dynasty in power” Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, told AFP.

A member of the constitutional council register told AFP, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that the organization strictly adhered to constitutional and election law regulations.

Wakit Tamma, another major opposition platform in Chad, called for a boycott of the presidential election on Saturday, calling it a “masquerade” aimed at maintaining a “dynastic dictatorship”.

The opposition candidates’ ban comes less than a month after General Deby’s chief competitor, Yaya Dillo Djerou, was killed in an army attack on his PSF party offices.

The PSF claimed he was slain at point-blank range to prevent him from opposing his cousin, the general. The administration refuted the accusations.

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