Da The Indipendent del 15/05/2006
Originale su http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=qw1...

Deby clinches new five-year term in Chad

di Betel Miarom

N'Djamena - Chad's President Idriss Deby won presidential elections with 77,5 percent of the vote, electoral officials said on Sunday, handing him a third five-year term in the Central African oil-producing country.

Despite a rebel attack on the capital N'Djamena three weeks before the May 3 polls, Deby's re-election was widely considered a formality after opposition parties boycotted the ballot, calling it a farce.

"Given the results, candidate Idriss Deby Itno has won the presidential elections," said Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, head of the Independent National Election Commission. Chad's highest court has two weeks to confirm the commission's announcement.

Western diplomats had reported low and unenthusiastic voter participation, but Bachir said turnout had been 61 percent.

Deby also won polls in 1996 and 2001, but his rule has been weakened by high-level desertions and he faces guerrillas led by former allies who accuse him of being corrupt and dictatorial.

The opposition has accused France, which has about 1 300 troops stationed in Chad and provides military intelligence to the government, of interfering to keep Deby in power. France has said it is supporting a democratically elected government.

Opposition groups and some foreign governments had lobbied Deby to postpone the May 3 elections and open a dialogue with his opponents.

"This is a victory for the Chadian people," Deby told supporters and reporters at his private residence in N'Djamena.

"It is also a rebuttal to all those people who said Chad was going to explode," he said.

The rebels who launched the April 13 attack on N'Djamena, in which hundreds of people were killed, have rejected an offer of dialogue from Deby and have vowed to unite with other groups to end his 16-year rule.

Deby, 54, a French-trained pilot, has ruled Chad since his Patriotic Salvation Movement group seized power in a revolt from the east in 1990.

His four election rivals on May 3 included two government ministers and a member of parliament for a party allied to his government. His nearest rival won just nine percent of the vote, Bachir said.

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