The significant abstention witnessed in Sunday’s constitutional referendum, particularly in the capital Ndjamena, appears to embolden opponents who interpret it as a rebuke to the transitional government. However, proponents of the “yes” vote, focusing on the “unitary” form of the Chadian state, caution against premature conclusions.
The leadership of the Anti-Unitary State Front, a coalition of about fifteen political parties that called for a boycott of Sunday’s constitutional referendum, views the record abstention, especially in Ndjamena, as a total rejection of the transitional government. Despite employing all state resources to secure a “yes” victory for a unitary state, the opposition sees the electoral landscape as a disaster.
Max Kemkoye, President of the Union of Democrats for Development and Progress (UDP), expresses satisfaction beyond expectations, characterizing the electoral turnout as a rejection not only of the referendum process but also of the entire transitional system. He emphasizes that the responsibility lies with the transitional president.
The spokesperson for the coalition advocating for the “yes” vote, comprising over 200 Chadian political parties, urges caution in claiming victory prematurely. Minister of Territorial Planning, Mahamat Assileck Halata, contends that the opposition should consider the broader perspective beyond the capital. He asserts that while Ndjamena witnessed specific observations, people in the provinces voted massively. Halata warns against premature celebrations, emphasizing the need to wait for the official results.
The challenge lies in the conflicting claims of victory from both sides within the country, where the voting process often lacked independent observers in numerous regions. As the situation unfolds, the nation awaits the outcome with heightened anticipation amid the divergent narratives surrounding the referendum.