N’Djamena: Chad’s legislative elections, originally due to take place in 2015, “should take place in November”, President Idriss Deby told opposition parties Friday, state radio reported. Deby, named in a US corruption probe, had already promised earlier that the elections would finally take place this year.
The voting date has been pushed back several times in the central African state. The original mandate of the legislature expired in June 2015, but has been prolonged.
Deby met with members of the opposition, including the New Opposition Front for Change (FONAC) which rejected the conclusions of a recent forum on constitutional change and reforms to the presidency.
The political, religious and social group members of the forum, boycotted by the opposition, proposed to increase presidential tenure from five to six years, with a maximum of two terms rather than the current mandate of five years with no limits on re-election.
More than 700 pro-government figures in political parties and religious and social groups attended the forum launched on March 19 by President Deby – currently serving his fifth term due to end in 2021 – who declared that it would “lead to the birth of the Fourth Republic.”
The opposition refused to take part, describing the proposed changes as a ploy to keep Deby, 65, in power.
An ally to the West in combating jihadism in the volatile Sahara region, Chad has endured two years of severe recession worsened by a slump in oil prices.
The state is imposing cuts in public spending that the finance ministry says are vital to stave off bankruptcy, fanning discontent in a country where almost half the population of 14 million lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.