Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno is seeking to extend his three-decade long rule, running for a sixth term in country with over a million refugees.
Giant portraits of Deby line the streets of the capital, N’Djamena, and the incumbent leader has campaigned on promises of building schools, paving roads and improving living conditions in this country that remains one of the least developed in the world.
Deby is widely expected to win in the first round, in part because two of the leading opposition candidates withdrew from the race.
Idriss Deby Itno was a former military officer who has been President of Chad since 1990. He is also head of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement. Déby is of the Bidyat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group.
He took power by leading a rebellion against President Hissene Hebra in December 1990 and has since survived various rebellions and coup attempts against his own rule.
Déby won elections in 1996 and 2001, and after term limits were eliminated he won again in 2006, 2011, and 2016. He added “Itno” to his surname in January 2006. He is a graduate of Muammar Gaddadi’s World Revolutionary Center.
Several international media sources have described Déby’s multi-decade rule as authoritarian.