General Mahamat Idriss Déby, head of the junta in power in Chad for three years, was officially declared president-elect on Thursday, May 16, by the Constitutional Council, which rejected the appeal of its prime minister, Succès Masra. The latter, who claimed to have won, played appeasement by admitting that there was “no more legal recourse” and called on his supporters to continue the “political fight” “peacefully”.

The presidential election of May 6, the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion according to many observers, marks the end of a military transition that began on April 20, 2021, when Mahamat Idriss Déby was proclaimed head of the army by the army. State, at the head of a junta of fifteen generals, to replace his father. The latter, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, had just been killed by rebels on his way to the front. He had ruled with an iron fist, for thirty years, this vast Sahelian country, which is among the poorest in the world.

Mahamat Idriss Déby, 40, was elected with 61% of the vote, according to the Constitutional Council. Success Masra, also 40 years old, was one of the fiercest opponents of Déby father and son before being named prime minister of the junta four months ago. He came second in the presidential election, with 18.54% of the vote, according to final results.

His party, Les Transformateurs, had described the election as a “masquerade”, and Succès Masra had filed an appeal for annulment before the Constitutional Council, which rejected it on Thursday. “There are no other legal avenues at the national level,” he admitted on his Facebook page, before concluding: “I ask you to remain mobilized while remaining peaceful. » The question now arises as to whether he will remain prime minister.

The opposition had called Succès Masra a “traitor” after he signed a “reconciliation agreement” with General Déby, who appointed him prime minister on January 1. The opposition, which had called for a boycott of a “predicted ballot” to “perpetuate a Déby dynasty”, had also accused Succès Masra of being a candidate to give a “democratic veneer” to the ballot and then continue its tandem with the general. But the economist had surprised everyone by gathering considerable crowds during his campaign, to the point of becoming emboldened and saying he was capable of winning, or at least of pushing Mahamat Idriss Déby to a second round.

” A ball in the head “

If supporters of Succès Masra protested in the streets, this could open the way to deadly violence, with opposition demonstrations being systematically repressed in this country, marked since its independence from France in 1960 by coup d’état. State, authoritarian regimes and the regular assaults of a multitude of rebellions.

Mahamat Idriss Déby was dubbed upon his installation by the army, in 2021, by an international community – France in the lead – quick to condemn the putschists elsewhere in Africa. Paris still has a thousand soldiers in Chad, considered a pillar of the anti-jihadist fight in the Sahel, after French soldiers were expelled from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Many observers predicted that the election of General Déby would be a formality, like those of his father, elected and re-elected six times after his 1990 coup.

In tune with the opposition, international NGOs had expressed concern before the election, like the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), of an election “neither credible, nor free, nor democratic”, “in a deleterious context, marked by […] the multiplication of human rights violations.” The junta, which violently repressed all opposition, sometimes bloodily, had excluded General Déby’s most dangerous rivals from the vote.

Two months before the election, Yaya Dillo, his cousin and fiercest rival for the presidential election, was killed by soldiers during the assault on his party headquarters, “murdered” with a “point-blank bullet in the head”, according to the said party. International NGOs are calling, so far in vain, for an independent investigation into his death.

On election day, at least 76 activists from the Masra Success party were arrested. To this day, they are still incarcerated, prosecuted in particular for “forgery and use of forgery”, according to the N’Djamena prosecutor’s office, which accuses them of having usurped the status of delegates of their party in polling stations.