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Chad to hold parliamentary election in first half of 2019: president

During a visit to Chad on 23 December, French President Emmanuel Macron promised funds to help the vote go ahead.

FILE: President of the Republic of Chad Idriss Deby Itno. Picture: United Nations Photo.

N'DJAMENA – Chad's President Idriss Deby said Monday that repeatedly postponed legislative and local elections in the central African state will be held in the first half of 2019.

It will be the poor, oil-rich state's first legislative elections since 2011. The vote had originally been scheduled for 2015, but due to delays, the sitting parliament's mandate was extended by constitutional law.

"The year 2019 will be marked by the holding of legislative and local elections," Deby, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1990, said in his New Year's address.

However, opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo said it was not up to the president to decide the date of the vote - that was the responsibility of the national election commission (CENI).

"Idriss Deby has also not spoken about constantly-violated freedoms or of a desire to improve electoral transparency," Kebzabo told AFP.

The president has requested 30 billion CFA francs (45.7 million euros, $52 million) from the international community to help pay for the elections.

During a visit to Chad on 23 December, French President Emmanuel Macron promised funds to help the vote go ahead.

The support of Chad's allies is "indispensable in this new electoral process, which requires significant financial and logistical resources," Deby said in his address.

He is hoping for an end to the country's financial crisis, which was caused mainly by the slide in the price of crude oil in 2014-2015.

"The coming year will be pivotal in the battle to structurally transform our economy," Deby added.

Despite its oil resources, the country's population is among the poorest in the world.

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