Junta leader Déby eyes grip on power in Chad's presidential election

Following three years of military rule, Chadians will cast their ballots in presidential elections on Monday, with General Mahamat Idriss Déby poised to consolidate the family dynasty.

Déby, proclaimed head of state by Chad's army three years ago, is the favourite to win Monday's election after the junta violently repressed much of the opposition.

But in an unprecedented scenario for Chad, Succès Masra – once a fierce opponent of the Déby dynasty who then allied with them and was recently appointed prime minister – is also attracting large crowds.

Two theories are reportedly circulating about what is going on in the African nation of 18 million people.

One is that Masra's candidacy for president is just a show to provide a democratic fig leaf for a vote Déby will easily win.

Lawmaker Rakhis Ahmat Saleh, an opposition candidate disqualified by Chad's Constitutional Council along with nine others, told French news agency AFP: "Masra is a follower, he is raising the stakes simply to ensure his place after Déby's election."

Masra has said he will win the election and will "keep a place" at his side for General Déby.

The other possibility is that Masra has been galvanised by the crowds. He might now consider himself a genuine opponent and could push Déby into a run-off and convince the military junta to stuff the ballot boxes.

(with AFP)

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