Opposition leader challenges Chad’s presidential election results

Chad’s opposition leader says he has filed an appeal with the country’s constitutional council to challenge the preliminary results of the May 6 presidential election.

In social media posts Sunday, Succès Masra shared a copy of a receipt showing that documents had been filed with the council.

The election’s preliminary results showed President Mahamat Deby Itno won with just over 61% of the vote, and runner-up Masra had over 18.5%.

Masra, the prime minister of Chad’s transitional government, had claimed victory shortly before the announcement and alleged that election results were being manipulated. He hasn’t publicly shared evidence to support his claim.

A Chad-based human rights law expert, Rakimdon Jacques Houitouto, told The Associated Press that if the constitutional council finds Masra’s case convincing, it will consider cancelling the results.

It was not clear when the council might decide on the claim.

Chad held its long-delayed election following three years of military rule. Analysts widely expected the incumbent to win. Deby Itno, also known as Mahamat Idriss Deby, had seized power after his father, who spent three decades in power, was killed fighting rebels in 2021.

The oil-exporting country of nearly 18 million people hasn’t had a democratic transfer of power since it became independent in 1960 after decades of French colonial rule.

Masra, president of The Transformers opposition party, fled Chad in October 2022.

The military government at the time suspended his party and six others in a clampdown on protests against Deby Itno’s decision to extend his time in power by two more years. More than 60 people were killed in the protests, which the government condemned as “an attempted coup.”

An agreement between the country’s minister of reconciliation and Masra’s political party late last year allowed the exiled politician and other opposition figures to return to Chad.

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