Chad: Vote on New Constitution

Sudan Events – Sumaya Sayed

Chadians vote on Sunday on a new constitution, in a key step towards elections promised, but postponed, by the ruling junta and seen as a test of legitimacy for the Deby dynasty’s more than 30-year rule.
Transitional President General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, whose junta has governed since 2021, had promised to hand power to civilians and hold elections this year before postponing them to 2024.
Supporters of a federal state urge people in the central African nation and the world’s second least developed country, according to the United Nations, to vote “no”.
The two main opposition groups have urged a boycott of the vote — some “Halt the Referendum” posters with a big red cross through them have appeared.
But opponents are pinning their hopes on a low turnout, which they say would undermine the transitional president and scion of a family dynasty that has held absolute power in Chad for 33 years.
A unitary state is the sole means of upholding unity, the “yes” camp argues, dismissing federalism as aiding separatism and chaos.
At the age of 37 and then a three-star general, Mahamat Idriss Deby was proclaimed president by a 15-strong junta of generals in April 2021 after the death of his father Idriss Deby Itno.
As well as promising civilian rule with elections after an 18-month transition period, Deby junior pledged he would not stand for election.
But 18 months later, Mahamat Deby extended the transitional period by two years and allowed himself to run for president, swapping his army uniform for a traditional boubou or smart suit.
“The result of the referendum is already known. The ‘yes’ will pass,” Badono Daigou, of the GCAP opposition group told a meeting in N’Djamena on Sunday.

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