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Election Campaign Closes in Chad

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TEHRAN, April 25 (ICANA) – Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno virtually assured of re-election as the votes have been boycotted by his three main opposition rivals.
Monday, April 25, 2011 9:31:08 PM
Election Campaign Closes in Chad

Chad's presidential election, that had been postponed for three weeks, is scheduled to open on Monday, AFP reports.

Three opposition candidates, Saleh Kebzabo, Wadal Abdelkader Kamougue, and Ngarlejy Yorongar have withdrawn from what they have described as an “election circus” and have also urged citizens to boycott the vote.

Having demanded reforms that include the issuing of new voters' cards, the opposition candidates claim that unfair conditions caused Deby's ruling Patriotic Movement of Salvation (MPS) to crush them in a February parliamentary poll and are predicting the new poll will be an “historic fraud.”

At an election meeting on the last day of campaigning on Saturday, in a jam-packed N'djamena stadium that can seat 20,000 people, Deby invited Chadians to "abandon ideas that divide us.”

His three main opponents, in turn, addressed a rally attended by more than 1,000 people earlier in the day, urging voters to boycott the vote.

Kebzabo is the president of the National Union for Democracy and Renewal, the opposition party with the most national assembly seats, nine, followed by Kamougue's Union for Renewal and Democracy with seven seats, and Yorongar's Federation Action for the Republic, with four.

Deby's MPS party won an absolute majority with 113 of the 188 seats in parliament against a fragmented and underfunded opposition of more than 100 parties in February's parliamentary elections, the first contested by the opposition since 2002.

In Monday's vote, Deby will face two candidates from smaller opposition parties: Albert Pahimi Padacke and Nadji Madou.

The Chadian president has been in power since 1990 after unseating dictator Hissene Habre in a coup.

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