Chad’s Deby sworn in as president as Allamaye Halina named new PM

Inauguration of Mahamat Idriss Deby follows disputed election and marks an end to three years of military rule.

Chad President-elect General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno (C) arrives for his inauguration at the Palace of Arts and Culture in N'Djamena
Chad President-elect General Mahamat Idriss Deby, centre, arrives for his inauguration at the Palace of Arts and Culture in N'Djamena, on May 23, 2024 [Joris Bolomey/AFP]

Chad’s newly elected president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, has been sworn in to succeed his late father after three years as an interim leader under military rule in the northcentral African country.

Shortly after, the country announced that Allamaye Halina would assume the post of prime minister after Succes Masra announced his resignation from the position this week.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony in the capital in N’Djamena on Thursday, which followed contested elections earlier this month, Deby said: “To my brothers and sisters who did not choose me … I would like to say that I respect your choice, which contributes to the vitality of our democracy.”

Deby won a sweeping 61 percent of the May 6 vote that international NGOs said was neither credible nor free.

He was proclaimed transitional president in April 2021 after rebels killed his father, Idriss Deby, who had himself ruled Chad since a coup in the early 1990s.

Deby was quickly endorsed as transitional leader by an international community led by France, whose forces in recent years have been removed by military regimes in former colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. France currently has 1000 soldiers in Chad.

The swearing-in on Thursday marked the end of three years of military rule in oil-rich Chad, one of Africa’s poorest countries, making official what the opposition has denounced as a Deby dynasty, accusing the clan and its allies of controlling the main institutions of power.

New prime minister

Following the inauguration, Chad named Halina, who was previously its ambassador to China, the new prime minister in a decree read out on state television.

Masra, who resigned from the post on Wednesday, was Deby’s main rival in the election.

He had only served as prime minister since the beginning of the year, having returned to the country under a reconciliation agreement after a period in exile following a crackdown on protests against military rule.

The opposition leader came second in the election with 18.54 percent of the vote, unsuccessfully challenging the result on allegations of fraud.

After the Constitutional Council rejected his bid, he called on supporters to “remain mobilised” but “peaceful”.

Eight African heads of state and foreign dignitaries, including Franck Riester, France’s minister for foreign trade and Francophonie, attended Deby’s swearing-in ceremony.

The presidential term runs for five years and can be renewed once.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies