Chad’s transitional president General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on Monday appointed a former leading opposition leader, who recently returned from exile, as prime minister.
Succes Masra, president of The Transformers party, was a long-time opponent of the Deby dynasty but returned to Chad in November after reaching an agreement with its military leaders.
Days before last month’s referendum on a new constitution – which saw 86 percent of participants vote “yes” – Masra publicly urged supporters to vote in favour, with the outcome now expected to pave the way to elections.
“Doctor Succes Masra is appointed prime minister, head of the transition government,” general secretary to the presidency Mahamat Ahmat Alabo announced on state TV.
Masra went into exile shortly after October 20, 2022 protests against the military regime, which had just extended by two years an 18-month transition supposed to culminate in elections and the return of power to a civilian government.
Authorities say some 50 people were killed that day. The opposition and local and international NGOs put the toll between 100 and 300.
Almost all of the victims were shot dead by the military and the police, mainly in the capital N’Djamena.
Masra only returned from exile on November 3 following a reconciliation agreement signed in Kinshasa on October 31 which guaranteed him free exercise of political activities.
He has told the government he wants to “continue dialogue… with a view to a peaceful political solution”.
Several opposition parties have distanced themselves from Masra, while furthermore speaking out against a general amnesty the regime has granted for “all Chadians, civilians and military” involved in the events of the October 2022 protest which has become known as Black Thursday.