The 2016 Presidential Elections in Chad were held on the 10th April.
President Idriss Déby, who has been in power 26 years, faced 13 opponents, including Saleh Kebzabo, a trained journalist and the country’s main opposition leader, who previously held several positions in Déby’s cabinet between 1993 and 2001, and Joseph Djimrangar Dadnadji, Déby’s former prime minister. There were no female candidates. President Idriss Déby won with 61.56% of the vote. Chad has a unicameral Assemblee Nationale (National Assembly) comprising 188 seats, with members serving 4-year terms. The president of Chad is directly elected with absolute majority popular vote, using the two-rounds system, for a 5-year term. Controversially, in 1995, President Idriss Déby unilaterally modified the Constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency.
The President’s opponent, Mr Kebzabo, claimed that there was large-scale fraud in the elections. However, according to the African Union voters were allowed freely elect their leaders, despite certain anomalies. It has been found that whilst 10% of the polling stations did not provide secrecy in voting, the elections in general were conducted peacefully and fairly.
Women’s Political Participation
There are no gender quotas in relation to female political participation in Chad, making it more difficult for women to achieve positions in politics. Chad ranks 125th on Women in Parliament: World Classification, and currently there are 28 women out of 188 members of the National Assembly.
Despite the fact that the Constitution in Chad provides for equal rights for all its citizens, women’s awareness and realisation of such rights is hindered by poor literacy skills. Indeed, the enrolment rate of women in school is only 27.5%.It has been said that whilst the President encourages the inclusion of women on party candidate lists, this is not implemented in reality. Furthermore, even though most political parties agree on the need to involve women in politics, women are not often found in decision-making positions. Female participation in voting is also low, as often families vote once because the male is considered as the head of household.
The Political Parties Charter is a small but significant step in order to encourage and empower greater participation of women in political affairs. In addition, Article 54 of the Constitution defines the annual grant allocation formula which the state pays to parties: 10% of the amount of the subsidy benefits the political parties with women elected to the National Assembly in proportion to number of women MPs.
Several measures need to be taken in Chad so as to enhance female participation in presidential elections as well as female political participation in general. Women need to be encouraged to take part in politics and acquire easier access to the political sphere.