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Chad’s Deby sworn in as president after three years of military rule


Chad’s newly elected president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, was sworn in to succeed his late father on Thursday, after three years as interim leader under military rule in the Central African country.

Deby took power after rebels killed his father, former President Idriss Deby, while visiting troops fighting militias in the north of the country in 2021.

The elder Deby had ruled Chad – which is rich in oil resources but one of the poorest countries in Africa – since a coup in the early 1990s.

Chad was the first of six junta-led states in west and central Africa to hold elections after a series of coups over the past four years further destabilized a volatile region.

Still, Mahamat Idriss Deby’s victory this month was controversial.

He won a landslide 61% of the vote in a tense May 6 election that two losing candidates, including second-place finisher Succes Masra, unsuccessfully contested over allegations of fraud.

Masra, who was Déby’s prime minister, came in second place with 18.54% of the votes. He resigned on Wednesday after the results were confirmed last week.

Before the election, some opposition parties and civil society groups had called for a boycott, saying that Deby, his allies and his clan control the main institutions of power.

“To my brothers and sisters who did not elect me… I would like to say that I respect your election, which contributes to the vitality of our democracy,” Deby said after taking the oath of office. He promised that 70% of the government budget would be spent on social welfare.

More than 40% of Chad’s population lives below the poverty line and extreme poverty has increased in recent years according to the World Bank.

The arrival of more than half a million war refugees from neighboring Sudan after the civil war broke out in April 2023 has increased pressure on Chad’s resources.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Palace of Arts and Culture in the capital, N’Djamena, before the swearing-in ceremony began.

Several African leaders attended the event, including the current president of the African Union, the president of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh AI-Ghazouani, the leader of Gabon’s junta, Brice Oligui Nguema, and the acting prime minister of Niger, which has been under military rule since a coup last year.

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