Chad became independent from France in 1960.
François Tombalbaye, leader of the Chad Progressive
Party (PPT), became the country's first president.
Tombalbaye, who belonged to the sara people in the
south, introduced one-party rule but the nomad people in
the north refused to submit to a regime characterized by
sara people. In the past, people from the north had
dominated the Sara people, but this order changed during
the colonial era when the residents of the south
received education and gradually became entrusted with
tasks in the administration.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Chad. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
The nomad people organized themselves against the
regime in Chad's National Liberation Front (Frolinat),
under the two rival leaders Hissène Habré and Goukouni
Oueddei. Fighting between them gave rise to new rebel
groups, and from 1965 there was full civil war.
President Tombalbaye, who over time became
increasingly dictatorial, was assassinated in 1975 in
connection with a military coup. It was conducted by
officers from the south, led by General Félix Malloum.
Prolonged civil war
In 1978, the military made peace with Habré's branch
of Frolinat, but fighting broke out in 1979 and Habré's
men entered the capital N'Djamena. Under threat of
invasion from Libya, a unifying and transitional
government was formed in 1979 with Oueddei as president.
The civil war, however, gained new momentum, mainly
between Oueddei's forces and allies led by Habré, now
Defense Minister. With support from Libya, Oueddei
resigned with the victory.
But in 1982, Habré's forces were able to re-capture
N'Djamena and drive Oueddei on the run. Habré installed
himself as president and his forces received support
from Zaire (current Congo-Kinshasa), USA and France.
Oueddei continued his fight against Habré with Libyan
support from bases in the north. Habré remained in power
with the help of French forces. The Civil War continued
throughout the 1980s. In 1989, Habré's presidency was
extended for another seven years.
Habrés ruled the country with brutal methods. It has
been estimated that as many as 40,000 people were killed
and more than 200,000 were tortured by Habré's secret
police who were tasked with overseeing the community and
suppressing all opposition efforts.
Deby takes power
Habré was deposed in 1990 by his former military
commander Idriss Déby, who came from the north and led
the Patriotic Rescue Movement (MPS), which fought the
regime from bases in Sudan. When the MPS conquered
N'Djamena, Habré fled abroad, reportedly leading a large
portion of the Treasury. The constitution was repealed
and Parliament was dissolved again. Déby promised
democratization and a new constitution. In 1991,
political parties were allowed to form.
However, the situation in the country remained
chaotic. Several coup attempts were fought and fighting
broke out with rebel groups in the south and in the
north. Both sides committed serious abuses against the
civilian population. A democratization conference was
held in 1993 with representatives of government
agencies, political movements and trade unions in an
effort to unite the country. A provisional constitution
was adopted, and parliament and the transitional
government were appointed. Yet the violence continued.
In 1994, Déby issued a general amnesty for political
prisoners and for the opposition in exile - with the
exception of Habré. Several rebel movements agreed to
peace and in 1996 a ceasefire was agreed.
In March 1996, a new constitution was adopted
following a referendum. When presidential elections were
held later that year, Déby prevailed. After the
parliamentary elections in early 1997, both the MPS and
the opposition parties claimed that there were electoral
fraud. After intervention by the court, MPS was awarded
just over half of the mandate in the new National
Assembly. The opposition parties Union for Renewal and
Democracy (URD) and National Union for Development and
Renewal (UNDR), both of which had their base in the
south, took office in the new government.
In 1998, a series of agreements were concluded that
officially ended the fighting in the south, where the
government had now started planning for oil recovery.
Chad and Cameroon agreed to jointly build an oil
pipeline to the Cameroonian coast.
Peace with rebels
Through a constitutional change in 2000,
MPS-dominated districts increased their representation
in the National Assembly at the expense of the
opposition. The regime also strengthened its influence
over the electoral commission. Contradictions within the
government led to the dismissal of the ministers of the
URD and UNDR.
Idriss Déby also won the presidential election in
2001. The opposition again accused the MPS of cheating,
but according to foreign election observers, the
election was largely right.
With the help of Libyan mediation, in 2002 - 2003, a
peace process was initiated between the government and
the rebel group Movement for Democracy and Justice in
Chad (MDJT), which over the previous four years
periodically controlled large parts of the regions of
Tibesti and Ennedi at the border with Libya in the
north. The MDJT was dominated by the toubou people and
provided with arms and money from Libya. The group split
in 2002 into a faction that continued the armed struggle
and another that negotiated with the government. The
latter signed a peace agreement in 2003. The same year,
the government also made peace with an alliance of eight
groups in eastern and southeastern Chad. The rebels were
promised amnesty, but not everyone accepted the
agreement and fighting continued (read more in Current
In the 2002 parliamentary elections, the MPS and its
supporting party, the Collection for Democracy and
Progress (RDP) together received close to 80 percent of
the mandate. The UDR with several boycotted the election
and the government was once again accused of electoral
Refugee stream and new conflicts
From 2003, the Darfur uprising in Sudan spilled
across the border to Chad. Hundreds of thousands of
refugees from Darfur crossed the border into Chad. There
was already competition for resources between residents
and nomads. Moreover, conflicts arose between those who
already lived in the area and the refugees. The oil
recovery that started in southern Chad at the same time
diluted the conflict. The bitterness increased when the
oil money did not benefit the people but was mainly used
to reward President Déby's political allies in N'Djamena
and to arm the government army. A large number of rebel
groups were founded.
In 2004, Parliament passed a series of constitutional
amendments that strengthened the presidential power and
allowed the president to stand for re-election an
unlimited number of times. At the same time, the age
limit of 70 years for presidential candidates was
abolished, and it became the president's job to decide
on future constitutional changes. The proposals were
approved in a referendum in 2005. The opposition
believed that this was done through cheating. The
changes were rejected not only by the political
opposition but also by people within zagawa. The
dissatisfaction led to mass shootings within the army at
the same time as several of Déby's close allies switched
sides and went over to the rebels.
The conflict with the rebels in the east was closely
linked to what happened in Sudan. Déby's zagawa people
group is on both sides of the border and zagawa in
Darfur participated in the uprising against the
government of Sudan. When, in solidarity with Sudan,
Déby sent over his army to help fight the rebels, it
turned out that Chadian government soldiers were not
always ready to fight their kinsmen on the other side of
the border. Chad's lack of help resulted in Sudan's
starting to support eastern Chad rebels in their fight
against the government of Debbie and vice versa. Chadian
rebels established bases in Sudan while insurgent
movements from Darfur were given a refuge in Chad.
Parliamentary elections are postponed
In January 2006, Parliament voted to extend its own
term of office for a year, citing that the country could
not afford to hold parliamentary elections at the same
time as the presidential election, which would be held
in May. In the presidential election, Déby won with 65
percent of the vote. A large part of the opposition
boycotted the election.
Following pressure from donor countries, Déby
conducted a dialogue with the opposition in 2007. Among
other things, the parties agreed to postpone the planned
parliamentary elections to 2009.
The fighting against the rebels was mainly going on
in the eastern part of the country but in 2006 the
rebels made an unsuccessful attempt to take the capital.
At the end of 2007, the largest rebel movements united
in a new alliance and in early 2008 another push was
made against N'Djamena. This time, the rebels managed to
reach the President's Palace, which was surrounded
before being driven back after a few days and the
government regained control of the capital.
After the unsuccessful attack on the capital and yet
another serious setback for the rebels in fighting with
the government army in May 2009, Sudan began to doubt
the wisdom of supporting the rebels. Approaching Chad's
government seemed like a better alternative. A
reconciliation process was initiated and in early 2010
Sudan and Chad agreed to start working together to stop
the rebels' progress in their respective countries, and
control at the common border was tightened.
The Rebels never recovered from the defeat in May. At
the end of 2010, one of the leaders of the largest
alliance, the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), stated
that the Rebels lost 80 percent of their original
In February 2011, parliamentary elections were held
for the first time since 2002. The elections had been
postponed several times due to inadequate preparation
and lack of security. Prior to the election, Déby's MPS
had merged with two small parties in the Alliance for
Chad's Rebirth (ART). The opposition was gathered in the
Coordination of Political Parties in Defense of the
Constitution (CPDC). ART won 132 of the 188 seats in
Parliament, of which MPS received 117. The opposition
claimed that cheating was occurring but the election was
approved by EU election observers.
In the presidential election two months later, Déby
won 89 percent of the vote. He was only challenged by
two candidates from smaller parties since the three main
opposition politicians decided to boycott the election.
They felt that there was a risk that the election would
not go right, and jumped off when they were not heard
for their demands. Among other things, they had demanded
that new ballots be printed after one of the candidates
found ballots for sale in a market in the capital.