Chad votes in first presidential poll since wave of coups

Chad goes to the polls on Monday in its first presidential election in three decades.

Originally scheduled for October 2022, the election was postponed, sparking protests quashed by security forces.

The vote marks the Sahel region’s first presidential election since a series of coups. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, despite facing a spirited opponent, holds favor for victory. He pledges security, law enforcement, and energy enhancements.

The election coincides with a temporary U.S. troop withdrawal from Chad, an ally crucial to the West. Polling begins at 7 a.m. with 8.5 million registered voters.

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Early voting by soldiers precedes the main election day.

Provisional results are due by May 21, final by June 5. A runoff is slated for June 22 if no candidate secures over 50% of the vote.

Since assuming power, Déby maintains ties with France. While neighboring Sahel nations pivot towards Moscow, Chad retains significant French military presence.

The U.S. recently announced temporary troop withdrawals, citing a security review post-election.

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