Idriss Deby could rule Chad till 2033, opposition decries ‘monarchical’ reforms

Chad’s president would be allowed to stay on until 2033 and be granted greater powers under constitutional changes recommended by a national conference that the opposition said aimed to create a “monarchy”.

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The two-week forum of about 800 politicians, business leaders and traditional chiefs, boycotted by the opposition, issued its report late on Tuesday, recommending eliminating the post of prime minister and creating a fully presidential system.

It proposed re-instating presidential term limits that were scrapped by a 2005 referendum, but the reforms would still let President Idriss Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, stay on well into old age.

It recommended six-year rather than five-year presidential terms, limited to a maximum of two terms, effective from the next presidential election in 2021. That would mean Deby could stay in power until 2033, when he will be 81.

Deby pledged before the 2016 election to reinstate term limits, bucking a regional trend that has seen the presidents of Rwanda and Congo Republic remove term limits to stay in office.

The conference’s proposals are expected to be taken up by parliament this year.

Chad, an ally of Western nations in the fight against Islamist militants in West and Central Africa, has faced strikes and protests in recent months over economic woes caused by low prices for its chief export, oil.

REUTERS