Chad president Deby re-elected with 79.32%: provisional result

Laverne Higgins
April 20, 2021

The army said Deby had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled against rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on Election Day.

Deby, 68, is re-elected to a sixth term after clinching 79.32 percent of the vote, according to provisional results from the electoral commission announced the day before his death.

Mr Déby "breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield", an army general said on state TV on Tuesday.

Deby's campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the frontlines to join troops battling "terrorists".

After assuming the office of the presidency in 1991, he consolidated a military regime, survived numerous rebellions, coup attempts and economic crises to become one of Africa's longest-ruling leaders.

The British government on Saturday urged its citizens to leave because, it said, two armed convoys from the rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) were advancing towards the capital.

Deby's son had served as an officer in the Chadian army and was until Tuesday morning the head of the presidential guard.

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The 37-year-old army general was appointed to lead a military council set up after his father was killed by rebel forces. In 2008, a different rebel force reached N'Djamena and came close to toppling Deby before French and Chadian army forces drove them out of the city.

Chadian state television on Sunday showed images of a crowd of soldiers cheering next to what state television said were dozens of captured rebel fighters, who sat with their hands tied behind their backs. "I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Marshal Idriss Deby Itno and to the people of Chad", he said.

People drive past a Chad army tank near presidential palace in N'djamena, Chad on April 19, 2021.

Déby's death could mean tremendous uncertainty for Chad as the military is internally divided and because of the widespread domestic opposition, said Nathaniel Powell, author of a history of French military involvement in Chad. Internationally, France and the United States will be hoping their counter-terrorism efforts are not now pushed off course.

But he has faced repeated insurgencies in the desert north and is also dealing with mounting public discontent over his management of oil wealth and crackdowns on opponents.

"[But] the military announced that the legislative assembly has been dissolved and that the constitution also has been dissolved, so what they are doing is that they replaced the constitution with their own set of rules".

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