Home | News    Wednesday 26 April 2006

US, Chad discuss delaying of presidential election

April 25, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — A senior U.S. said Tuesday that he had discussed Chad postponing its presidential election, which is eight days away, in talks with President Idriss Deby but declined to go into details.

JPEG - 6 kb
Idriss deby

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto, who met with Deby Monday, said that they discussed the poll and a rebellion in eastern Chad that saw a failed April 13 attack on the capital N’djamena in which the government says 350 died.

"We held a very direct and private discussion on the issue (on whether to postpone the election) with the president," Yamamoto told journalists.

Chad’s main opposition alliance is boycotting the May 3 poll, which would be Chad’s third multiparty presidential election since it got independence from France in 1960. The opposition says it believes Deby will steal the election.

Deby seized power by force 1990. Deby won Chad’s first multiparty presidential poll in 1996 and a subsequent 2001 election. Critics say neither vote was free and fair, and Deby’s claims of being a democrat were further undermined when he pushed for a national referendum last year to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term. The amendment passed after an opposition boycott.

Some opposition leaders have said the May 3 election should be held later to allow proposals for electoral reform to be implemented.

A group of non-governmental organizations has called for a national round-table to thrash out Chad’s most urgent problems, including electoral reform, before people go to the polls.

Deby said last week that it would be dangerous to postpone the election because it would create a constitutional vacuum.