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Landlocked central African country holds legislative election

February 20, 2011 - CHAD

The election for Chad's 155-seat unicameral National Assembly, is unlikely to produce surprises. The huge lead of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) is not under threat, but the election could be eventful. The opposition coalition, CPDC, can be counted on to challenge the results, and political violence and rebel activity in the capital, Ndjamena, and elsewhere threaten the polling. The vote has been moved several times, and could be moved agin , first set for 2010, has been moved and moved could be moved again.

The election for Chad's 155-seat unicameral National Assembly, is unlikely to produce surprises. The huge lead of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) is not under threat, but the election could be eventful. The opposition coalition, CPDC, can be counted on to challenge the results, and political violence and rebel activity in the capital, Ndjamena, and elsewhere threaten the polling. The vote has been moved several times, and could be moved agin , first set for 2010, has been moved and moved could be moved again. The original plan was for a Nov 2010 legislative election, Dec 2010 local elections and an Apr 2011 presidential vote. They were moved in September to Feb 20 for the legislative poll, 27 Mar for the local vote, and 8 May for the presidential vote. In October, further adjustments were made. The legislative election was moved forward to Feb 6, the local election moved to 26 July, and the first round of the presidential vote to Apr 3. The Feb 6 date has since been moved to Feb 13, then moved again to Feb 20. Since President Idriss Deby Itno seized power in a 1990 coup, according to AFP, the results of Chad's elections have been consistently disputed by opposition parties and civil organizations. The CPDC, which groups 20 parties, has threatened not to participate in the elections, accusing the president of failing to meet democratic pledges. The coalition criticizes the government's monopolization of the state media, the electoral process and the means and assets of the state for electioneering. Several of the coalition parties are represented in the legislature, but the ruling party's 110-seat stranglehold -- its nearest rival, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), holds only 12 seats -- leaves little scope for an upset. The Federation Action for the Republic (FAR) holds nine seats. The other parties represented hold five or fewer seats each. The president will choose the prime minister. The incumbent, since Mar 2010, is Emmanuel Nadingar. The rebel activity also threatens relief efforts for refugees in Chad. The country has become a temporary home to nearly a quarter of a million refugees from the conflict in Darfur, and tens of thousands more refugees from the Central African Republic. (WRITTEN OCT 2010)

Chad adopts new electoral calendar (AFP 9 Oct 2010)

Chad: Elections delayed till 2011 (Africa News 27 Sep 2010)

Chad (NYT Topics)

Date written/update: 2011-02-20