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17 candidates applied to contest the presidential election, although only seven challenged on the day. Many opposition figures had their candidacies invalidated by the Supreme Court ahead of the election, or later withdrew in the face of violence and intimidation by the state’s security forces.

Incumbent President Idriss Déby, who first rose to power in a military coup in 1990, was widely expected to win a sixth consecutive term. He had already amended the constitution to potentially allow him to remain president until 2033.

As expected, Déby was re-elected, taking almost 80 per cent of all votes in a ballot boycotted by many opposition parties.

A planned victory speech was cancelled, though, as Déby instead chose to visit Chadian soldiers fighting insurgents advancing on the capital.

On 20 April, the day after his election victory was announced, President Déby died of injuries sustained following clashes with the rebel group Front for Political Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).

A Transitional Military Council (CMT) – led by Déby’s son Mahamat Idriss Déby – immediately seized power, pledging to govern for the next 18 months, overseeing a transition period until new elections take place.

Chad’s strategic position astride the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa is viewed by Western powers as critical in the fight against Islamic terrorism from the Sahel region, and acts as a vital buffer to the long-term instability coming from Sudan’s Darfur region.

International observers will be monitoring the situation in Chad and neighbouring countries closely. France, Chad’s former colonial power, which maintains a large military base in the country, will be keen for stability to continue.

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