Over seven million registered voters in Chad are voting today, Sunday as President Idriss Deby, 68, seeks a sixth consecutive term.
President Deby and his party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), have dominated Chadian politics since ascending to power in December 1990.
A new constitution, promulgated in 2018, allowed him to run for two additional six-year terms back-to-back after the end of his tenure this year.
He relied on a strong grip on state institutions and one of the region’s most capable armies to maintain power. He said recently that he knew in advance that he would win again “like I have done for the past 30 years”.
The 7.3 million registered voters in the Central African country will choose among 7 candidates, according to the country’s independent electoral commission (CENI).
Other candidates in today’s election include former Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke, 55, and Felix Nialbe Romadoumngar, 64, who is officially the “leader of the opposition” as his URD party has eight seats in the National Assembly.
The campaigning season was marred by a crackdown on protesters and opposition parties, with some opposition figures calling for a boycott.
Opposition leaders have called on their supporters to boycott the polls and make the country “ungovernable” after Deby’s decision to seek a sixth term led to protests and clashes with security forces.