Chad: Authoritarian regimes, elections and coups (1962-1996)

Updated August 2010

Tombalbaye's one party state (1962-1975)

The Constitution of 1962 established a one party state with President Ngarta (François) Tombalbaye's Parti Progressiste du Tchad - Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (PPP-RDA; Chadian Progressive Party - African Democratic Rally) as the sole legal party, but disaffection led to the outbreak of an insurgency in 1965 that escalated into a civil war (Römer 1999, 221, 222; Nunley 2007). To mobilise support Tombalbaye initiate direct presidential elections in 1969 and transformed the PPP-RDA into the Mouvement National pour la Révolution Culturelle et Sociale (MNRCS) in 1973 (Römer 1999, 221; Nunley 2007). In April 1975 Tombalbaye was killed in a military coup and the MNRCS was suppressed (Römer 1999, 222).

Elections 1962-1975

Year Date Poll Registered Votes cast Turnout
1962 4 Mar National Assembly 1 297 908 1 128 503 86.95%
1962 22 Apr *Presidential - - -
1963 22 Dec National Assembly 1 421 520 1 356 211 95.41%
1969 15 Jun **Presidential 1 678 979 1 562 139 93.04%
1969 14 Dec National Assembly 1 664 848 1 583 422 95.11%

Table note

*Tombalbaye was indirectly elected unopposed by an Electoral College.
**Tombalbaye was directly elected unopposed.

Table sources

Nunley 2007; Römer 1999, 227, 228.

Military government and peace efforts (1975-1982)

The military government, led by General Felix Malloum, was unable to suppress the rebels, but a peace initiative in 1977 led to the adoption of a transitional arrangement governed by the Acte fondimentale and Hissène Habré was designated Prime Minister (Römer 1999, 222). Habré attempted a coup in February 1979, resulting in the renewal of the civil war (Römer 1999, 222). Further efforts at a negotiated settlement resulted in the installation of insurgent General Goukouni Weddeye as transitional President in late 1979, but Habré's rebel forces defeated those of the government in July 1982 and he became president in October (Römer 1999, 222).

Era of Habré (1982-1990)

To secure his position Habré launched the Union nationale pour l'indépendence et la révolution (UNIR; National Union for Independence and Revolution) in 1984 and in December 1989 held a referendum on a new constitution to legitimise his rule, which was endorsed by 99.9% of voters (Römer 1999, 222, 223; Nunley 2007). Subsequent non-party National Assembly elections were held in July 1990, but the powerlessness of the new National Assembly frustrated the opposition and Habré was overthrown in a coup in December led by the Mouvement patriotique de salut (MPS, Patriotic Salvation Movement) of Idriss Déby Itno (Römer 1999, 223).

Polls 1984-1990

Year Date Poll Registered Votes cast Turnout
1989 10 Dec Referendum 2 894 825 2 693 282 93.04%
1990 8 Jul National Assembly 2 894 825 1 622 838 56.06%

Table sources

Nunley 2007; Römer 1999, 227, 228.

The transition to democracy (1990-1996)

Although Déby's interim charter declared the MPS the sole legal party, liberalisation measures were introduced. These included the introduction of political party plurality in October 1991 and the convening of a National Conference in 1993 that adopted a new charter outlining transitional structures and a constitutional formulating mechanism (Römer 1999, 223). A new Constitution was drafted that was ratified by the electorate in a 1996 Constitutional referendum.

References

NUNLEY, AC 2007 "Chad" IN African Elections Database, [www] http://africanelections.tripod.com/td.html [opens new window] (accessed 4 Aug 2010).

RÖMER, M 1999 IN Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (eds) Elections in Africa: A Data Handbook, Oxford Publishers.

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