Tuesday, February 05, 2008

President Deby Hangs On In Chad

France is rallying international support for Chad's president, Idriss Deby, after his forces apparently beat back rebels following street battles in the capital, N'Djamena. During a weekend in which fighting almost reached the gates of the presidential palace itself, Mr Deby must be feeling pretty relieved. Especially now Chad's former colonial masters have used the UN to state clearly they want him to survive.

For France to claim Mr Deby is the right man to lead Chad because he was "democratically elected" is only true up to a point. He seized power in a coup in 1990, and although he's won elections since, the most recent in 2006 was a controversial poll boycotted by the opposition. But France and everyone else should support him now anyway. If the rebels, backed by the odious regime in neighbouring Sudan, took power, Chad's future would not look good. Not that it looks too great as it is, not least because the rebels will surely be back. But a continuation of the Deby regime with international support at least offers something that resembles stability. With inflation now rising dramatically by the hour, stability is what Chad badly needs.

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