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Chad's "national dialogue" to begin on Wednesday

Participants take their seats on the podium as the Chad Peace Negotiations ...   -  
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KARIM JAAFAR/AFP or licensors


The work of the inclusive national dialogue (DNI) in Chad between the civilian and armed opposition and the ruling junta will begin on Wednesday, a day later than the initial schedule, for "organisational reasons", the government spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The head of the junta, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, gave Saturday in N'Djamena the kick-off of this dialogue, boycotted by some armed groups and members of civil society, which should lead to "free and democratic" elections and the transfer of power to civilians.

"The dialogue has been postponed for organisational reasons, notably because of the late arrival of certain delegations, but not for political reasons," said Abderaman Koulamallah, the government spokesman and communications minister appointed by the junta.

"Everything is fine for the moment, the timing is good," Koulamallah continued.

Some 1,400 delegates from trade unions, political parties and the ruling junta will meet for 21 days to discuss institutional reform and a new constitution, which will then be put to a referendum.

The DNI, which was initially scheduled to take place in February before being postponed several times, opens less than two weeks after the signing in Doha of an agreement between the Chadian junta and some 40 rebel groups.

"This week will be devoted to the adoption of internal regulations," Saleh Kebzabo, a former presidential candidate and opponent of Idriss Déby Itno, told AFP.

Work in the commissions, which include social issues, peace and national reconciliation and fundamental freedoms, is due to begin on 30 August.

The initial schedule foresees a closing ceremony on 20 September. "The question of duration is not an imperative issue, if it takes more days, we will take more days," said Mr. Koulamallah.

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno came to power in April 2021 after his father Idriss Déby died at the front against rebels. The country's new strongman, who heads a Transitional Military Council (TMC), has promised to hold elections after an 18-month transition period, which is due to end in October, and not to stand in future elections.

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