The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, on Sunday said general elections, scheduled for 2015 but much postponed, would be held in 2018.
“I am happy to announce, on the cusp of the New Year, that legislative elections will be organized in 2018,” Deby said in a televised address, urging all politicians to show responsibility and patriotism in the run-up to the poll.
The country’s parliament was due to be dissolved on June 21, 2015, but the constitutional court extended its term.
Deby, who took office in 1990 and won a contested fifth term in April 2016, delayed polls still further last February.
The opposition derided his comments that the country did not have the financial means to hold polls before 2019 and have dubbed the current parliament illegitimate.
On Sunday, he declared that “this major electoral event is awaited by Chad’s entire political class” and would be a source of “great political fervor.”
Deby also announced the creation of an “inclusive national forum” in the oil-producing nation to bring together political organizations to examine in detail “different approaches to (political) reform.”
“We have to pay close attention to peace and security, which are primordial conditions for progress,” said Deby, warning the country it must not drop its guard in “the fight against terrorism.”
Chad is an ally of the West in sub-Saharan Africa in tackling radicalism. But a prolonged slump in oil prices has taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy in recent years.