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Chad election: Ruling party says turnout high amid boycott

Ballots are counted after the closing of the voting operations at a roadside voting station in N'djamena   -  
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As Chad waits for the results of Sunday's presidential election, the African Union said the vote was peaceful amid calls for a boycott by the opposition. 

Incumbent President Idriss Deby is expected to extend his 30-year rule in the seven-candidate race, facing no major rivals and a campaign in which demonstrations were banned or violently dispersed.

Despite an Africanews correspondent reporting polling stations were quiet in the capital N'djamena, the ruling party said voter turnout was high. 

Voter turnout has yet to be announced by the electoral body. 

"All over the country, since dawn, voters headed en masse to the various polling stations to exercise their first democratic right," said Mahamat Zen Bada Abbas, General Secretary, Patriotic Salvation Movement. 

"This very strong political signal sent by the Chadian women and men must be a wake-up call to all the followers of chaos who keep on failing."

"It is up to you to say what is going on. Was there a boycott yesterday? Was there a boycott today? Things are going on calmly, serenely and peacefully in a country at peace and stable. So, there is nothing to fear," the President said.

Deby is a former rebel and career soldier who seized power in a coup in 1990.

After being voted in, he changed the constitution in 2018 to allow him to stay in power until 2033.

He has maintained a firm grip on the military and state institutions to maintain power.

Chad has been a key ally in the West's anti-jihadist campaign in the Sahel and Deby has campaigned on a platform promising security.

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