By Mahamat Ramadane
President of Chad Mahamat Idriss Deby gestures as he arrives for a meeting over security in the Sahel region at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 12, 2021. © The REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes.
N'DJAMENA, July 14 (Reuters) - Chad's government said on Thursday it will hold a national dialogue starting Aug. 20, a precursor to elections promised by interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby when he seized power following his father's death last year.
Deby declared himself head of a Transitional Military Council in April 2021 after his father, Chad's longtime ruler Idriss Deby, was killed while visiting troops fighting an insurgency in the north.
Initially the council had said it would oversee an 18-month transition to democratic rule, but it has shown little sign of organizing elections as that deadline nears.
Deby has presented the national dialogue as the first step toward planning a vote. It would in theory include armed groups but the conditions for their participation have not yet been agreed on.
Pressure has started to grow from opposition groups within Chad and bilateral partners to advance the transition process. Chad is an ally of France and other Western countries in the fight against Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel region.
"It is the responsibility of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to fulfil its commitments to the citizens of Chad, including that members of the TMC will not stand for future elections and that the TMC will adhere to a period of rapid transition, with democratic elections a mark of the TMC's success," said Ellen Thorburn, charge d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Chad, last week.
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