Hundreds of people spilled onto the streets in this Chad town on Monday and cars honked their horns in celebration after the constitutional council confirmed Idriss Deby’s victory in presidential elections early this month.
Deby won a third successive five-year mandate with 64.67 percent of the vote, the council said, which although a substantial majority, was below the provisional victory figure of 77.6 percent initially released by the country’s national election commission.
Likewise the council revised turnout down to 53.08 percent, in comparison with the commission’s earlier estimate of 60 percent. Opposition parties had called on the country’s 5.8 million voters to boycott the 3 May vote.
Among the cheering crowd on the streets here, a 47-year-old mechanic who gave his name as Amadou said “We hope he will help us to work here. The people here want to work but there is a lot of unemployment. We hope he will change this.”
Election posters plastered in this town on the Cameroon border, several hundred kilometres south of the capital Ndjamena, proclaimed that a vote for Deby was a vote “for confidence and for the future.”
Deby’s campaign manager Mahamat Hissene told IRIN by telephone that the re-election “opens the way to new important public works for Chad. President Deby will not simply finish what he has begun but will do great things.”
According to the council, runner-up to Deby, former prime minister Kassire Coumakoye, won 15.13 percent of the vote, more than the eight percent initially attributed to him by the commission. Among other contenders Pahimi Padacket Albert won 7.82 percent, Mahamat Abdoulaye won 7.07 percent and Ibrahim Koullamallah garnered 5.31 percent.
Chad’s fractured civil opposition spent the weeks ahead of the vote urging Chadians to boycott the poll in favour of a national dialogue, and ultimately refused to field any candidates. A dawn attack on the capital by rebels opposed to Deby only two weeks before polling day, left 200 dead.