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Chad President Expected to Win Opposition-Boycotted Election

Chad President Idriss Deby (file photo)

Chad President Idriss Deby (file photo)

Chad's President Idriss Deby is poised to win another term in a presidential vote boycotted by his main opposition challengers.

The election is scheduled for Monday after being postponed three weeks, but Deby's three top challengers have withdrawn, and called for voters to boycott as well. The opposition leaders have been demanding electoral reforms, including new voter registration lists and voter cards.

Two candidates from smaller opposition parties remain in the race, but Deby is widely expected to beat them by a comfortable margin.

In a press conference Friday, Deby said the opposition leaders had withdrawn because they lacked funding to campaign and knew they would lose. He said he expected a high turnout.

Analysts say they will be watching to see how many voters turn up on Monday as a measure of how strongly Chadians heeded the opposition boycott.

Opposition parties boycotted the last presidential election in 2006, when Deby was re-elected. They participated in a legislative election earlier this year, the country's first since 2002, but alleged Deby's party used fraud to win.

President Deby has ruled Chad since seizing power in a 1990 coup. Under his rule, the nation has become an oil producer but remains locked in poverty.

He continues to be challenged by rebels in the east, who briefly invaded the capital in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.