Chad’s Deby Wins Sixth Term as Army Halts Rebel Advance

Chad President Idriss Deby won a sixth mandate in polls marred by an opposition boycott and a rebel advance on the capital.

Deby, 68, secured 79% of the vote in the April 11 poll, Kodi Mahamat Bam, president of the Independent National Election Commission, said in N’Djamena on Monday. Albert Pahimi Padacke, who served on many of Deby’s cabinets, got 10%. Voter turnout was almost two-thirds of those eligible.

The president was meant to face nine opposition candidates after the Supreme Court barred seven others. Three of those remaining later quit the race, including the main opposition leader, Saleh Kebzabo, who withdrew after a deadly shootout at another candidate’s home in late February.

The election win will tighten Deby’s grip on a country that’s been a key contributor of troops to a multinational effort to defeat Islamist militants in West Africa’s Sahel region. Inside its borders, Chad faces the occasional threat from Libya-based rebels.

On April 16, two convoys of the Front for Change and Concord in Tchad, a Libya-based rebel group made up of army dissidents, advanced toward N’Djamena. They clashed with government forces the following day, according to state-run Office National de Radio et Television du Tchad, leading to the deaths of more than 300 rebels and five soldiers.

FACT leader Mahamat Mahdi Ali told Radio France Internationale late Monday the rebels had made a “tactical withdrawal.”

Chad is also confronting major social and economic challenges. Two-thirds of the population of N’Djamena aren’t connected to the power grid, and the country is the third-poorest in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index. A succession of crude-price crashes have also led to problems servicing debt in the oil-producing nation.

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