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Mahamat Déby's new constitution will reinforce central control

Facing a difficult election next year and shock waves from Sudan's war in the east, the junta wants to consolidate its power

Chadians are widely expected to have approved a new constitution that will pave the way for elections next year after voting closed on 17 December. The results will be announced on 24 December.

The 'yes' vote is almost certain to win the referendum after a well-financed campaign by the ruling junta against a divided opposition, which has faced arrest, intimidation and threats for more than a year. Opposition leader Succès Masra and his party, Les Transformateurs, having boycotted the dialogue process on Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration, had called for a boycott of the vote (AC Vol 64 No 11, Succès on K-Street).

The referendum, and the size of the turnout, is a test of legitimacy for transitional President General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno 'Kaka', whose junta has governed since his father was killed in 2021.

Masra's party is one of seven to have been authorised to contest the 2024 elections, though few expect the polls to be free and expect military candidates such as Kaka to win easily.

Kaka has curried favour in the international community by pitching himself as an enemy of jihadist terrorism. Alone among the Sahel's military rulers, Kaka was invited to United States President Joe Biden's African leaders summit last December (AC Vol 64 No 23, Presidents Mahamat Kaka and Macron meet on security threats).

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