Presidential election in Chad: the European Union deplores the exclusion of observers

The European Union (EU) deplored on Tuesday May 7 in Chad the exclusion of 2,900 civil society observers which, according to it, harms the "transparency" of the presidential election the day before, put in place doubt by the opposition and international NGOs

Presidential election in Chad: the European Union deplores the exclusion of observers

The European Union (EU) deplored on Tuesday May 7 in Chad the exclusion of 2,900 civil society observers which, according to it, harms the "transparency" of the presidential election the day before, put in place doubt by the opposition and international NGOs.

The latter had already expressed doubts about its “credibility” and the transparency of an election which they judged, in tune with the opposition, to have been decided in advance in favor of General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, proclaimed head of state. by the army three years ago, upon the death of his father's president.

The presidential election, supposed to put an end to three years of military power, pitted him against a former opponent, Succès Masra, who joined the junta and was appointed prime minister by the general on January 1, in an unprecedented duel.

On Sunday, four Chadian civil society organizations, including the Chadian Human Rights League (LTDH), protested against the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to issue accreditations to 2,900 of their members for “voting observation,” despite requests being submitted “within the required deadlines.”

A “democratic veneer”

“The EU in Chad deplores the non-accreditation of these civil society organizations. » “In doing so”, the CENI, whose members were appointed by Mr Déby, “prevented their contribution to the transparency of the electoral process, financed to the tune of 3.8 million euros, with European funds”, regretted the EU in Chad on its Facebook page. We “supported a Chadian citizen observation with EU funds,” Sona Jarosova, head of the EU political mission in Chad, told AFP.

On Tuesday, the day after the vote, the candidates' staff, who stayed up all night to follow the counting in N'Djamena, were either unavailable or refused to comment on the vote. As did the leaders of what remains of the opposition, in the country or in forced exile, who did not wish to speak for the moment.

Activists and supporters from both camps explained that the long night at polling stations and the exceptionally stifling heat wave affecting Chad like much of Africa forced them to stay at home until the evening.

The opposition, sometimes bloodily repressed for three years, and whose most dangerous candidates for Mr. Déby were excluded from the race, had called for a boycott of a vote intended, according to it, to "perpetuate a Déby dynasty" of 34 years old. She considers Mr. Masra a “traitor”, whose candidacy was only intended to give a “democratic veneer” to the vote. But the latter attracted considerable crowds during his campaign, to the point of now claiming victory.

Fourth least developed country in the world

On Friday, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expressed concern about “an election which seems neither credible, nor free, nor democratic”, “in a deleterious context marked by (…) the multiplication of rights violations humans.” The NGO International Crisis Group (ICG) had also expressed “doubts about the credibility of the election” after the ousting of candidates from a “muzzled political opposition”.

Official results are expected on May 21, with a possible runoff on June 22. General Déby welcomed Tuesday “a turning point in terms of the rooting of democratic culture in Chad.” His Prime Minister Succès Masra wanted, on Facebook, “that the counting continues in calm and serenity”.

" I remained at home. I neither voted for Mahamat [Déby], nor for Succès Masra,” nor any of the eight other candidates, says a disillusioned Mohamed Dembélé, a motorcycle taxi driver, at the central market of N’Djamena. “I have a degree but there is no work, people are tired. We need to eat, even basic food, there is none,” says this 34-year-old man.

Chad, a vast semi-desert state in the Sahel whose economy depends heavily on modest oil production, is the fourth least developed country in the world, according to the UN.