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Chadian referendum: Calls for mass voting amidst controversy

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Chadians participated in a crucial referendum on Sunday, marked by both calls for mass participation and widespread controversy. The referendum is intended to decide on a new Constitution, seen as a crucial step towards holding elections and restoring civilian rule—a promise made two and a half years ago by the military junta but delayed until late 2024..

_"I wanted to call on my compatriots to come out and vote en masse. Your vote, your voice counts and your voice will strengthen the foundations of our democracy,"_said Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Transition.

Despite the controversy, the "yes" vote appears to be in favor. The military power has orchestrated a well-funded campaign and has even secured the support of one of its main opponents, Succès Masra, president of The Transformers opposition party, who is advocating for a "yes" vote.

“I asked Chadians to make a simple choice. I believe that in every corporation (political parties and associations) there are those who are for a federal state and those who are for a unitary state, and in my party too, there are some. In any case, on the big day, everyone will have to face up to his or her own conscience and ballot paper.”

This endorsement comes at a time when the opposition is visibly divided and has faced severe repression for over a year in Chad, which is ranked as the second least developed country in the world according to the UN.

Voting commenced as polling stations opened at 07:00 (06:00 GMT), and the counting process initiated after closure at 17:00 (16:00 GMT). Some stations extended the voting time beyond the announced hour.

Official provisional results are anticipated to be announced on December 24, with the Supreme Court tasked with validating the outcome on December 28.

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