Chad's constitutional referendum: the campaign enters the final stretch

With a week to go before the vote on the new constitution in Chad, the "yes" and "no" camps are defending their positions tooth and nail, while others prefer a boycott.

Aerial view of N'Djamena. © David Baché/RFI

By: RFI Follow


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As the referendum campaign enters its final week, the political class is busy ahead of the vote on the new Constitution scheduled for Sunday 17 December. In N'Djamena, this weekend was punctuated by meetings of the various political parties, reports our correspondent Olivier Monodji.

Activists of the former ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) and allied parties that support the transition are already confident of victory. "The other side is proposing a division of Chad. We are going to go to the referendum to say 'yes', to allow people to continue to go quickly to make constitutional order. Vote for a united and indivisible Chad," said Mahamat Zen Bada Abbas, vice-president of the coalition for the "yes" vote in the constitutional referendum.

The "no" camp determined

But this in no way diminishes the determination of the "no" camp. "The position of the unitary state has rather favoured the formation of rebellions, crises, inter-communal conflicts, wars. And so it didn't favor us. We call for a 'no' vote against the proposed unitary Constitution, because this anti-federalist propaganda benefits them," said Brice Mbaimon Guedmbaye, the national coordinator.

The text, adopted in June by the transitional parliament, is supposed to establish a return to constitutional order and put an end to the transition following the death of former president Idriss Déby. It takes up the consensual architecture of the 1996 Basic Law, and on the central question of the form of the state, promises advanced decentralization rather than federalism.

Daily unchanged

For the Consultative Group of Political Actors (GCAP), an alliance that advocates a boycott, whether we vote "yes" or "no", this will not change anything on a daily basis. "Let's secure our future by saying no to the referendum. To vote is to accept that we live without economic development. We must do everything we can to prevent this referendum," said Nassour Ibrahim Koursami, president of the Patriots party, a member of the GCAP. Chadians' concerns lie elsewhere, he says. These include the closure of schools for almost two months and the increasingly scarce supply of fuel.

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