Weighing In On Chad’s Democracy

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council commented on the Chadian government’s transition, reaffirming its support for the process and democracy in the country. When Chadian president Idriss Déby succumbed to injuries after a fierce fight with rebels earlier this year, the office was handed to his son, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno. Itno, a 37-year-old army general, is meant to be a temporary, transitional leader. The presidency is intended to transfer via election in one and a half years.

A spokesperson from the Peace and Security Council expressed “the absolute need for a transition towards a democratic regime to be achieved within 18 months.” An “inclusive and consensual transition process … run by civilians” is “imperative,” the spokesperson said, “with a clear separation of roles and functions between the transitional government and Transitional Military Council.”

A press statement by Spokesperson Ned Price of the United States Department of State also expressed support for a civilian-led transition. “The United States supports the recommendations of the African Union Peace and Security Council regarding Chad, and we join the African Union and our international partners in calling for a peaceful, timely, and civilian-led transition of power to a democratically elected government before October 2022,” Price said.

Members of the Transitional Military Council (C.M.T.) did not oppose the demands and seemed to express agreement for adhering to the democratic process.

In the 18 months before the election takes place, the African Union is pushing collaboration between the C.M.T. and civilians. The Union has refused to accept any extensions to that firm 18-month deadline and also expects that Itno and other members of the C.M.T. not run for elections in the upcoming year.

Idriss Déby was in power for 30 years. Currently, data shows that about 40-60% of the Chadian population sits below the poverty line. 3.7 million individuals are food insecure, and 2.2 million are malnourished. The coming elections represent a change to the long-standing power in government and possible hope for the people in Chad. The new president will be faced with significant challenges, but the nation anticipates a government that can change the tide.

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