EU condemns Chad’s blocking of civil observers in presidential vote

The European Union (EU) has denounced Chad’s refusal to permit nearly 3,000 civil society members funded by the EU to monitor the presidential election, which occurred on Monday.

Critics of junta leader and presidential candidate Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno had urged a boycott, alleging that the election was rigged.

Additionally, international human rights organizations had cautioned that the vote would not be conducted freely or fairly following a crackdown on opposition groups.

On Sunday, four civil society associations, including the Chadian Human Rights League, criticized the electoral commission appointed by Deby for denying accreditation to 2,900 of their representatives as voting observers.

The EU expressed condemnation for this decision on Facebook, stating that it hindered the organizations’ ability to contribute to the transparency of the electoral process, which had been financed by 3.8 million euros ($4.1 million) of European funds.

Sona Jarosova, the head of the EU’s political mission to Chad, informed AFP that the EU had financially supported observation efforts by Chadian citizens.

Meanwhile, General Deby praised the election as a significant milestone in establishing a democratic culture in Chad.

The election occurred after three years of military rule in a nation crucial to combating extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.

However, Deby’s cousin and main electoral rival, Yaya Dillo Djerou, was reportedly shot in the head at close range during a military assault on February 28, according to his party.

Deby assumed the role of transitional president in 2021 after his father was killed in a skirmish with rebels, concluding his 30-year rule.

The International Federation for Human Rights and the International Crisis Group have both cast doubt on the credibility of the election.

Concerns were raised about various issues preceding the vote, including the decision to only publish regional vote totals rather than results from individual polling stations, making it impossible for observers to verify the count.

Since the junta prolonged military rule in 2022, opposition figures have either fled, been silenced, or aligned themselves with Deby.

Official election results are anticipated to be announced on May 21.

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