CHAD has approached Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) and asked it to assist with logistics and expertise as the nation prepares to hold parliamentary elections into its 188-seat National Assembly.
Twice postponed, Chad has been trying to organise parliamentary elections since last year but in 2017 President Idriss Déby said that the polls had to be delayed because the government did not have sufficient funds to conduct them. Earlier this year, a new deadline of May 2019 was subsequently proposed by the government but the elections are still yet to take place.
On April 4, Chad’s New National Independent Elections Commission (Ceni) was sworn-in by the Supreme Court despite protests by segments of the opposition regarding its impartiality. On 5 April, the Coordination des Partis Politiques pour la Défense de la Constitution (CPDC) comprising a dozen opposition parties controlling 31 seats in the National Assembly, rejected the swearing-in, calling it illegally constituted, null and void and of no effect.
However, despite this, Ceni is pressing ahead with organising the polls and its vice chairman, Adama Djibert, recently visited Inec’s headquarters in Abuja to pick up some tips and get advice. Inec chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, pledged to assist Chad to conduct the elections in a free and fair manner.
Receiving the Chadian delegation, Professor Yakubu commended Mr Djibert for acknowledging Nigeria’s support to Chad’s electoral process, pledging to work within its powers to offer technical assistance in certain areas. It is not yet clear in what specific areas Inec will offer support though.
Professor Yakubu said: “Both at this meeting and in our private discussion in the office, you raised a number of issues and I want to respond as follows. The first issue is insecurity resulting in the displacement of citizens including voters and one area we can share experience with the Republic of Chad in this regard is to share with you our framework for internally displaced persons voting.
“The second area is in the registration of voters and the preparation for voters register and we will share experience with you in this regard as well. We will also share experience with you in deepening stakeholders’ engagement, particularly with respect to political parties, civil society organisations, and the media.
“As you prepare for the parliamentary elections, one important area we will discuss is inclusivity for women, youths and persons with disabilities.”
Chad’s lawmakers are elected from the country’s 116 constituencies based on the number of constituents. Constituencies with a population of over 50,000 have two members, with an additional member for every additional 40,000 residents.
In constituencies with one seat, the two-round system is used. In multi-member constituencies, a party winning over 50% of the vote wins all the seats but if no party wins over 50% of the vote, seats are allocated proportionally using the highest averages method.
Chad has struggled to entrench democracy after President, Déby, seized power in 1990 through a rebellion as his re-elections have been condemned by international observers as flawed and fraudulent. Due to electoral irregularities in the previous elections in 2001 and 2006, the 2011 presidential election was boycotted by the major opposition parties, which resulted in President Déby winning 89% of the vote in the first round.