Chad's ruling party wins local polls

2012-02-07 08:52

N'Djamena - Chad's ruling MPS party won the majority of seats in the main cities in the country's first local elections, according to provisional results on Tuesday, as the opposition complained of electoral fraud.

President Idriss Deby Itno's Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) secured six of the 10 seats in the capital N'Djemena and was also assured of victory in the central African country's second city Abeche, the national electoral commission said following Monday's vote.

However Saleh Kebzabo, spokesperson for the main opposition coalition - the 16-party Co-ordination of Political Parties for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC) - cried foul.

"There were attempts at electoral fraud everywhere, especially in N'Djamena", he told AFP during voting on Monday.

Kebzabo, who was himself beaten in the southwest Lere district, added that the border with Cameroon was not closed until after midday, allowing many Cameroonians to come in and vote.

Casting his vote on Monday, President Deby expressed his "satisfaction at seeing the first local elections held in our country".

He added a call for calm, saying "our country does not need turmoil after or during the elections".

Deby, who has ruled Chad since 1990, was re-elected in April 2011 with 83 percent of the vote. His MPS won an absolute majority in parliament two months earlier.

The opposition said both elections were rigged but decided to take part in the local elections.

Landmark elections

About one million people were eligible to cast their ballots in the landmark elections.

Previously mayors were appointed directly by the central government.

The ruling party won an outright majority in 12 of the 43 constituencies, and joined forces with allied parties to beat the opposition Union for Renewal and Democracy (URD), led until his death in May by General Wadal Abdelkader Kamougue, in the third city of Sahr in the south.

Kamougue is a historical figure in Chadian politics, having helped to overthrow the first president of the coup-prone nation and served in the governments of four others including Deby, despite being against him.

The CPDC opposition coalition had run united lists in 32 constituencies but failed to win a majority of the seats in any of them.

The local elections were announced in August and fixed for October last year, then postponed to November 27 January 15 and finally January 22.

No electoral turnout figure was released.

Final election results are due to be announced on February 22.