Opposition leader becomes the new PM in Chad

Masra had gone into exile shortly after the protests in October 2022 and only recently returned to his home country.

2023 12 24T180916Z 1 LYNXMPEJBN05C RTROPTP 4 CHAD REFERENDUM
FILE PHOTO: President of Chad Mahamat Idriss Deby gestures as he arrives for a meeting over security in the Sahel region at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 12, 2021. The REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

The transitional president of Chad, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, designated a former prominent opposition leader, who recently came back from exile, as the prime minister.

Succes Masra, the president of The Transformers party, had been a longstanding adversary of the Deby dynasty. However, he returned to Chad in November after reaching an agreement with the military leaders. In the days leading up to last month’s referendum on a new constitution, where 86% voted “yes”, Masra publicly encouraged his supporters to vote in favour. The anticipated outcome is now seen as a pathway to upcoming elections.

Masra had gone into exile shortly after the protests on October 20, 2022, against the military regime, which had just extended the 18-month transition by two years. This transition was initially intended to culminate in elections and the restoration of power to a civilian government.

On that day, authorities report approximately 50 casualties, while the opposition and both local and international non-governmental organizations estimate the toll to be between 100 and 300. The majority of the victims were fatally shot by the military and police, predominantly in the capital city, N’Djamena.

Masra, who returned from exile on November 3, had entered into a reconciliation agreement signed in Kinshasa on October 31, assuring him the unrestricted exercise of political activities.

Expressing a desire to continue dialogue for a peaceful political solution, Masra has communicated this intention to the government.

Several opposition parties have distanced themselves from Masra. Additionally, they have criticized a general amnesty granted by the regime for “all Chadians, civilians, and military” involved in the events of the October 2022 protest, commonly referred to as Black Thursday.

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