Opposition Seeks Annulment of Chad Elections Citing Electoral Fraud

Opposition Seeks Annulment of Chad Elections Citing Electoral Fraud

Opposition candidates in Chad have filed a legal challenge against President Mahamat Idriss Deby’s victory in the recent presidential election, citing electoral fraud and violence. The legal challenge comes as the media in Chad appeal a decision barring them from reporting on election-related violence.

Deby’s victory follows the death of his father, Idriss Deby, in 2021, and completes the country’s three-year transition from military to civilian rule. The country’s election body, ANGE, declared Masra second with more than 18% of the votes cast, while Deby won more than 61% of the vote, exceeding the 50% mandate needed to avoid a runoff.

Succes Masra, the opposition candidate who came second in the election, alleges massive electoral fraud, including ballot box stuffing and soldiers chasing opposition representatives from polling stations. Masra’s party, the Transformers, claims that scores of opposition officials and hundreds of supporters were arrested and detained by government troops. Masra alleges that soldiers carried ballot boxes to military barracks, where government troops counted and declared results, instead of the elections management body, ANGE.

The Constitutional Council has received a petition from Masra calling for the results of the May 6 vote to be annulled. Another losing candidate, Yacine Abdramane Sakine, has also filed a petition asking for a public recount of the votes. The Council has until May 21 to rule on the petitions and proclaim definitive results.

Despite the legal challenge, Deby has already been congratulated by several international leaders, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Guinea Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Kenyan President William Ruto.

Meanwhile, Chad’s journalism union has condemned a government order stopping the news media from reporting on post-election tensions and violence. The order also bars news organizations from giving casualty figures.

Civil society and opposition groups say the troops deployed after the May 9 publication of partial results are still intimidating and arresting civilians, especially in N’djamena. The death toll from shooting since May 9 has increased to 30.

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