Electoral observation has been indispensable for strengthening the credibility of elections. It is better structured and has facilitated stronger attention and support by development partners in their efforts to provide electoral assistance. Electoral observation was performed during the first pluralist elections of 1996 and 1997, subsequently, the principle of electoral observation was clearly stated in the August 13, 2007 Political Agreement, and reiterated in the Law 020/PR/2008 of December 19, 2008 which established the CENI.
The implementation of the Political Agreement put its main emphasis for electoral observation on a project to train the trainers of national electoral observers and established of a network of observers through a project conducted by the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). This project trained more than three hundred trainers across the country.
During the last elections, the CENI received and processed requests for accreditation from national and international observers. The CENI accredited a total of 114 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and civil society organizations to observe elections across the country. It is the CENI’s mandate to accredit electoral observers.
At the national level, it is generally civil society organizations working as networks or platforms that conduct electoral observation. The main entities at the national level are, the Independent Coalition for Free Elections, the National Independent Observatory for the Monitoring of Electoral Processes and Democracy, The Center of Solidarity with Young People for Training and Development, the Coordination of Civil Society and Human Rights Associations, and The Network of Civil Society Organizations of Chad (RESOSCIT).
At the international level, most international observers have been deployed by the European Union (the February 13, 2011 legislative elections), The International Organization of French Speaking Countries (OIF), The African Union, and The Economic Community of Central African States.
The interactions between the different organizations involved in electoral observation are very limited. Regarding the national organizations involved in electoral observation, they are at times suspicious of one another. Their relations reflect the lack of unity among civil society organizations. In Chad, civil society organizations are characterized by divisions. One segment of civil society organizations, labeled radical, is considered close to the opposition, whereas, another segment, labeled aligned, is viewed as being close to the Government. However, a positive collaboration among these organizations was noted during the last elections. The objective to bring all the organizations conducting electoral observation into a single network failed because of the hostility between many activists, but the principle of cooperation was established, even if it remains up to them to maintain this dynamic. The failure to form a network was mainly due to the divisions and personalities of the main civil society organizations and their leaders.
Although international observers participated in the observation of elections, they did not collaborate directly with national observers. Due to the size of the country, international observers remain in the capital city, N’Djamena, and are always the first to make assessments regarding the conduct of the electoral process. If there is any collaboration between national and international observers, it is perhaps when they meet at polling stations, otherwise there is no organized form of cooperation in observation activities.
Useful links and documentary resources
- The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, Election Observation Portal: Tchad : http://aceproject.org/electoral-advice/dop?country=Chad&organization=&year=&election=&mission=&report=&keywords=
This post is also available in: Français (French)