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National dialogue in Chad: proposals for a prolonged transition

National dialogue in Chad: proposals for a prolonged transition
Transition President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno (L) gestures during the opening ceremony of ...   -  
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AFP -

Chad

An internal commission at Chad's National Reconciliation Dialogue proposed Wednesday (September 28) to extend the transition to elections by two years, keep the head of the military junta as head of state and then allow him to run for president at the ballot box.

This inclusive and sovereign National Dialogue (DNIS) was launched on August 20, 16 months after the young general Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno was proclaimed president of the Republic by the army following the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno.

At the head of a Military Transitional Council (MTC) of fifteen generals, he abrogated the constitution, dissolved parliament, and dismissed the government.

But he immediately promised to return power to civilians through "free and democratic" elections after a "transition" of 18 months, renewable once.

He also pledged to the Chadians and the international community, which immediately endorsed him, that he would not run in the upcoming presidential elections.

- The proposal -

Two days before the DNIS is due to close, an internal commission proposed to hundreds of delegates on Wednesday that they adopt the following resolutions: "to renew the transition for a maximum of 24 months", "to keep the CMT president in office (Mahamat Déby, editor's note), who becomes the president of the transition".

Above all, the commission proposes that "every Chadian in general and the leaders of the transition, in particular, be eligible to vote and stand for election" in two years.

In the absence of a large majority of the political opposition and civil society organizations boycotting it, as well as two of the three most powerful and feared armed rebel groups, the DNIS is unlikely to reject these proposals.

The applause and cheers of approval in the huge DNIS hall in N'Djamena as each proposal was read out left little room for doubt.

- Closing date -

But one of the organization's officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the DNIS could not close as planned this Friday, September 30, because of the many debates still to be held before the adoption of all the resolutions.

On April 20, 2021, the army announced the death of President Idriss Déby Itno, who had ruled this vast Central African country with an iron fist for 30 years. It immediately appointed a "transitional" executive of 15 generals headed by the young General Mahamat Déby, 37.

A few days after his promises, the latter was hailed with great pomp at his father's funeral by representatives of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), including France, represented by its president Emmanuel Macron, while elsewhere in Africa they vilified and sanctioned the military putschists in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Sudan.

The Chadian army is the main regional pillar, along with France's, in the war against jihadists in the Sahel.

However, the international community had asked Mahamat Déby not to extend the transition beyond 18 months to return power to civilians, and not to run for president afterward.

But in June 2021, the junta leader made the first cut to his promises, envisaging another 18 months "if Chadians do not reach an agreement" and handing over his "fate" to "God" on a possible candidacy.

The internal commission also proposed on Wednesday to the DNIS a six-year term for the future elected president, renewable only once "without the possibility of revision", even by referendum.

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