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The Chad News Archive

Ruling Party Wins Chad Elections

AFP (3/1/11)

N'DJAMENA — The party of Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno and its allies won an absolute majority of national assembly seats in the February 13 general election, provisional results showed Monday.

Yaya Mahamat Liguita, chairman of the National Independent Electoral Commission, said the results showing the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) and aligned parties with 133 of the 188 seats had yet to be confirmed by the constitutional council.

The oil-rich African country's 4.8 million voters faced a choice between Deby's MPS and a fragmented and under-funded opposition of more than 100 tiny parties.

The National Union for Democracy and Renewal headed by Saleh Kebzabo emerged as the biggest opposition grouping with 11 seats.

Turnout was 56.6 percent, Liguita said, and 16 of the parties won at least one seat in the election that tested the opposition's strength against strongman Deby for the first time in nearly a decade.

The MPS won nearly three-quarters of seats in the previous poll in 2002, the results of which were disputed by opposition parties and civil organisations.

Opposition parties including the main Federation Action for the Republic (FAR) boycotted a presidential election in 2006 that re-elected Deby, who seized power in a 1990 coup.

During its absence from the political landscape, the opposition in 2007 signed an agreement under the auspices of the European Union that officially paved the way for a democratic process.

Sandwiched between volatile neighbours Niger and Sudan, Chad is one of Africa's poorest countries, suffering from poverty and internal conflict despite abundant resources of uranium and gold.

It also became an oil producer in 2003 following the completion of a four-billion-dollar pipeline linking its oilfields to depots on the Atlantic coast.

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