NDJAMENA - Official results have yet to be released from Chad's April 10 presidential election. But opposition candidates say their vote count indicates the country is headed to a run-off, and they will not accept any other results. It is the latest sign of tension as President Idris Deby seeks a fifth term in office.
Mahamat Ahmad Alhabo, president of the opposition Party for Liberty and Development (PLD) and spokesperson of opposition presidential candidates, says the political opposition is poised for a run-off after result sheets from their representatives in all poling stations indicated no candidate had won an absolute majority in the first round of polling Sunday.
He says they are surprised that although no candidate won the first round of the presidential election incumbent President Idriss Deby is already asking them to accept results being prepared by the country's electoral commission to declare him as winner for the sake of peace. He says they will never accept such an abuse of democracy and are therefore calling for the second round of the polls to be organized, according to Chad's constitution.
Mahamat did not give details of their count.
Chad's electoral commission has two weeks from the day of the election to proclaim results. Mahamat Zen Bada, Deby's campaign manager, says all candidates should be ready to respect the verdict of the ballot.
He says they are committed to respecting republican values and democratic principles and that he is inviting other candidates and their political parties to maintain the peace and serenity that has characterized the election so far.
Dioncounda Traore, former president of Mali and head of the African Union Observer mission, acknowledged irregularities marred the election, but said it was peaceful and fair.
Deby and his ruling party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, came to power after ousting President Hissene Habre in a 1990 coup. Deby, an ex-army commander, has since then resoundingly won the first round in presidential elections, except the first multi party election in 1996. Deby changed the constitution in 2004, eliminating its two term limit on presidential tenure.
Thirteen candidates, including Deby, competed in this year's election.