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Chad's Government, Opposition Agree to Electoral Changes

Chad's parliamentary election has been postponed for two years as part of a deal between the government and the opposition parties that boycotted last year's presidential election.

President Idriss Deby and a coalition of about 20 opposition parties called "Coordination for the Defense of the Constitution" signed the agreement Monday after six months of negotiations.

The new accord delays elections until December 2009 to allow for the creation of computerized and tamper-proof electoral lists, as well as biometric voting cards to prevent fraud. In the meantime, members of the opposition will have more of a role in the current government.

Some analysts say the agreement will do little to change Chad's political climate, considering President Deby has managed to keep a firm hold on power.

Opposition parties boycotted the 2006 presidential balloting that led to Mr. Deby's re-election. They accused the ruling party of electoral corruption.