France changes stance on Chad, calls for civilian government | News | DW | 27.04.2021

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France changes stance on Chad, calls for civilian government

President Emmanuel Macron has backtracked on previous comments where he supported a civilian-military transition in Chad. The African country is in a state of flux following the sudden death of President Idriss Deby.

Felix Tshisekedi and Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron met with DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi to discuss the situation in Chad

France shifted its stance on the Chad crisis on Tuesday, no longer backing a civilian-military transition in Chad and instead calling for a civilian national unity government and for elections to be held within 18 months.

Following last week's death of President Idriss Deby, French President Emmanuel Macron was quick to lend his support for a civilian-military solution headed by the former leader's son Mahamat.

However, Macron has since backtracked on that support, after opposition groups said what was taking place in the former French colony was akin to a coup.

DR Congo, France call for civilian unity rule

Macron discussed the crisis with DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, currently head of the African Union, in Paris on Tuesday.

The two leaders condemned the treatment of protesters in Chad, where at least two people were killed and 27 injured as demonstrators took to the streets demanding a return to civilian rule.

"We want to express our concern about developments, and condemn with the greatest firmness the repression of demonstrations and the violence that took place this morning in N'Djamena," Macron told reporters at the Elysee Palace, as he stood alongside Tshisekedi.

The two released a joint statement pledging "support for a inclusive transition process open to all Chadian political forces, led by a civilian national unity government that should lead to elections within an 18-month delay."

The African Union also expressed "grave concern" about the military takeover.

Chad appoints transitional PM

Chad's so-called Transitional Military Council (TMC) led by Deby's 37-year-old son Mahamat named Albert Pahimi Padacke, a distant runner-up in the April 11 presidential vote, as the country's transitional prime minister.

Meanwhile, Macron called on the TMC to honor its commitment to "a peaceful and politically inclusive transition," warning that France, the former colonial power in Chad, was opposed to any attempt to simply designate Deby's successor.

"I am not in favor of a planned succession," Macron said.

Deby, who had been in power for three decades, was killed on April 19 while vising troops fighting rebels.

jsi/dj (Reuters, AFP)

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