Deby assumes Chad presidency after disputed election

After three years at the helm of Chad’s military junta, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno ascended to the presidency on Thursday following an election victory marred by opposition contestation.

Official results declared Deby the winner with 61 percent of the May 6 vote, a victory disputed by international NGOs who labeled the election neither credible nor free, echoing sentiments expressed by his main rival who deemed it a “masquerade.”

In a solemn ceremony witnessed by eight African heads of state, Constitutional Council members, and numerous guests, the 40-year-old leader donned his customary white boubou as he took the oath of office at the Palace of Arts and Culture in the capital city of N’Djamena.

With the presidential term set at five years, renewable once, Deby pledged to fulfill his duties “before the Chadian people” and committed to representing all citizens regardless of their background or affiliations, declaring a “return to constitutional order” in his address.

The swearing-in ceremony marked the conclusion of three years of military rule, succeeding the tumultuous transition triggered by the demise of his father, long-serving President Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed by rebel forces after a 30-year reign.

Deby’s swift endorsement by the international community in 2021, led by France, underscores the strategic importance of Chad in combating extremism across Africa’s volatile Sahel region, amidst concerns over military takeovers in neighboring countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Additionally, the investiture formalized what critics have labeled as a Deby dynasty, with former ambassador to China, Allamaye Halina, appointed as prime minister, following the resignation of his predecessor, Succes Masra, who stepped down after his party’s electoral defeat amid contested results and accusations of being a junta ally.

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