Chadian voters cast ballots Sunday in their first-ever local elections to pick city mayors who, in the past, had been appointed by the central government.
President Idriss Deby, who has ruled Chad since 1990, asked Chadians to come out in large numbers to choose their local leaders.
Clement Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of Crimes of the Regime of Hissene Habre, described turnout as poor because many Chadians still do not have confidence in the electoral process.
“This Sunday, I walked [to] about two or three areas and, the first thing that I noticed is that, there was no big mobilization. By the closing time, you could see that [many] people did not come to vote. I don’t know why, but the people do not believe in the election in our country because they used to vote, but the result was not what they were expecting,” he said.
Deby won reelection last April with 83 percent of the vote. His Patriotic Salvation Movement won a majority of the seats in parliament earlier that year.
In Sunday’s local elections, 16 opposition parties formed a coalition called The Coordination of Political Parties for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC).
Abaifouta said the opposition decided to participate in Sunday’s elections because they feel it is the first of its kind in Chad, and they hope to win many cities.
But, he was skeptical whether the results would meet the opposition’s expectations.
“Let us wait for the results, but I guess that the results will not reflect the reality because they play with the results and this might not meet the expectation of the people,” Abaifouta said.