Due to circumstances surrounding the death of President Idriss Deby in April 2021, his son Mahamat Deby assumed the presidency of the Transitional Military Council (CMT), contrary to the constitutional requirement that leadership be transferred to the President of the National Assembly until elections could be held. Following a period of conflict, a peace agreement was reached in August 2022 in Doha, Qatar. The Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue (DNIS) was launched as a result, involving a wide range of stakeholders, including several armed groups. One of the main outcomes of the DNIS is the holding of a referendum to decide on the form of state that Chad will take as well as a new constitution
Constitutional Referendum Date:
• 17 December 2023
• Population (as of 2021), approximately 18.2 million people.
• Registered voters (as of 2021), 7,388,348
• Two-round majoritarian system for presidential election.
• Proportional representation for legislative and local elections.
• Chad is classified as a low-income country dependent on agriculture and oil exports to support its economy.
• Literacy rate (as of 2022) estimated to be 39.52%.
• It is higher among men than women.
On 24 July 2023, the National commission for the organisation of the constitutional referendum,(CONOREC) launched the first phase of the biometric electoral roll update in seven provinces of southern Chad, namely Mayo-Kebbi Est, Mayo-Kebbi Ouest, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Tandjilé, Moyen-Chari and Mandoul.
To observe this important stage in the run-up to the constitutional referendum scheduled for 17 December 2023, the Alliance Citoyenne pour les Élections au Tchad (ACET), with technical support from EISA, and funding from the European Union, trained 73 long-term observers (LTOs). The observers were deployed in pairs of 35 teams in the 7 provinces where the first phase of the electoral roll revision operation took place. The teams will be deployed until 26 December 2023, when the results of the referendum will be announced from 7 August to 12 August.
“This low rate of female representation among enrolment staff can be partly explained by the self-administered test, which eliminated a number of candidates, including women who were already few in number as candidates.”
The UNDP committed to cover the costs of salaries for the female enrolment of all the CONOREC’s female agents. Despite this effort to promote gender equality and social inclusion, CONOREC only managed to recruit around 250 women out of some 1,500 enrolment agents. This is still insufficient to ensure real representation of women. This low rate of female representation among enrolment staff can be partly explained by the self-administered test, which eliminated a number of candidates, including women who were already few in number as candidates. Undoubtedly, the issue of women’s representation remains a serious challenge in Chad.
The information gathered to date suggests that the operation in the seven provinces went well despite the rain, which made the task of the enrolment agents difficult. CONOREC estimates the participation rate for this first phase at 108%, as over 500,000 voters were enrolled out of a projected 400,000. The increase in turnout is attributable to an intensification of awareness-raising efforts by radio stations in the target provinces and the activism of administrative authorities who were galvanized by the Minister’s tour in the target regions.
Dr Kadi Pierre Sossou is the Country Director for EISA’s Chad office