Chad Prime Minister Masra to Challenge President in May Election

(Bloomberg) -- Chad’s Prime Minister Succes Masra confirmed his candidacy for the country’s May 6 presidential election in front of supporters in the capital N’Djamena on Sunday.

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Masra, a former opposition leader, will face interim President Mahamat Deby, who’s contesting the vote under the banner of the newly-formed For a United Chad coalition.

Deby was sworn in as the party’s candidate on March 2, three days after Yaya Dillo, his main challenger, was killed in a shootout with security forces that had surrounded the office of the Socialist Party Without Borders.

Chad’s already weak opposition has been violently suppressed during Deby’s three years in power. Masra fled Chad in late 2022 following nationwide protests that left scores dead and injured hundreds as security forces fired live ammunition at civilians, according to Chad’s National Human Rights Commission. Hundreds of others were arrested, including several members of the Transformers party.

Masra, once a fierce critique of Deby, joined the government following his return to Chad in November, after spending more than a year in exile.

“After all the suffering, you choose reconciliation,” Masra told supporters during a ceremony at his party’s headquarters on Sunday. “We need to put our personal interests aside and work for the common good,” he said.

Deby, 39, seized power in 2021 after his father, former President Idriss Deby, was killed on the battlefield, and is widely expected to win the election. The elder Deby ruled the central African oil producer for three decades.

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