Chadian President Wins Re-Election
Scott Stearns | Dakar May 10, 2011
Provisional results from voting in Chad show the president winning re-election in a poll that most of his main opponents boycotted.
Chad's electoral commission says provisional results from last month's poll show President Idriss Deby won nearly 89 percent of the vote. Two other candidates split the remaining 11 percent of ballots in a vote that the president's three main opponents boycotted.
They refused to take part because of concerns that thousands of voter cards from a February legislative vote could be used to help steal the presidential poll. One of those candidates, 72-year-old Abdelkader Wadal Kamougoue, died Monday just hours before provisional results were released.
Deby supporters say the electoral commission's announcement that voter turnout was over 64 percent shows that the opposition boycott failed. However, election observers from the African Union believe turnout was below the 51 percent reached during February's legislative vote.
If confirmed by Chad's Constitutional Court, the results give President Deby another five-year mandate, his fourth since taking power in a 1990 coup. Campaigning for the vote, Deby said democracy in Chad is taking root step by step and that his main opponents chose to boycott the poll only because they knew they would lose.
The president came close to losing power in a 2008 Sudanese-based rebellion that reached the capital N'Djamena. He has since reconciled with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, with both men pledging not to harbor each other's opponents.
After President Deby forced United Nations peacekeepers to leave Chad, the two men established a joint security force to patrol their more than 1,000 kilometer border.
Instability in Sudan's troubled Darfur region and in the Central African Republic has sent more than 300,000 refugees into Chad. The United Nations is supporting a Chadian government security force to help maintain order at the refugee camps, curb sexual- and gender-based violence, and prevent the recruitment of child soldiers.
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