Chad is formally a democratic republic. In reality, the
country is ruled by a dictatorial president and his close
family. The president is the country's head of state,
appoints all ministers in the government and has great
personal power. The 169 members of the National Assembly are
elected by the people every four years, but have limited
influence in political decisions.
The President is the country's supreme leader and has
very great power. Formally, the president is elected in
democratic elections every five years. In the 1996
Constitution, the president could only be re-elected once.
In 2005, Parliament amended this restriction so that the
president could be re-elected an unlimited number of times.
Idriss Déby was thus re-elected for a third term in 2006,
for a fourth term in 2011 and for the fifth time in April
2016. In May 2018, a new constitution was passed. The new
constitution, which established the Fourth Republic of Chad,
allows only two re-election of the same president from its
enactment. Thus, Idriss Déby Itno can be legally re-elected
in the upcoming presidential elections in both 2021 and
The Constitution of 2018 took away the post of prime
minister, thus giving the president even more power than
before. In fact, the president nominates all the ministers
himself, and he makes many and large replacements of
ministers several times a year. In this way, he gains even
more power since very few ministers retain their positions
for several years. The president uses his constitutional
right to issue decrees to appoint people in important
positions within the state apparatus and in state
corporations. In recent years, the president's wife, Hinda
Déby, has greatly influenced appointments in the state
apparatus. She has placed many of her own extended family
members in central state positions.
Political and religious contradictions
Since independence in 1960, Chad has been characterized
by great turmoil, in part civil war. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how CD can stand for Chad. The turmoil has to some
extent been rooted in contradictions between the Arab-
Muslim north and central areas and the African, Christian
and animist south. However, control of the country's
resources has been equally important for the unrest.
Various groups are fighting for presidential power.
Sometimes the struggle is violent, as when several
military-political groups almost managed to conduct a coup
d'état in February 2008 and February 2019. Other times the
power struggle is non-violent and is largely carried out by
students, trade union leaders and opposition candidates,
such as in 2015 and 2016. After 2017, the regime has managed
to divide the civil opposition by offering positions or sums
of money to important opponents and in this way winning
Administratively, Chad is divided into 23 provinces
(counties), each of which is divided into several
prefectures (large municipalities) and sub-prefectures
(municipalities). All three of these administrative levels
are controlled by government-approved officials. The
President runs a large-scale replacement of his
administrative staff so that a regional governor or prefect
cannot expect to retain his position for long; often shorter
than one year.
The judiciary includes a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal
and Magistrate and Criminal Courts. The Supreme Court has
its own constitutional chamber. The legislation is based on
both traditional and French examples. The courts are not
considered independent; Corruption is very common in
affecting a single settlement. In addition, there is a
parallel, traditional judicial system in which village
chiefs act as supreme judges.
Chad has conscription after selection. The total force
figures for Chad's armed forces are 30,350 active personnel
(2018, IISS). In addition, 4,500 semi-military forces are
arriving in a gendarmerie. In 2018, France had troops in
Chad with a total of 1,500 personnel and four fighter
aircraft (Operation Barkhane).
The army has a strength of about 25,000 active personnel.
Material includes 60 tanks of a T-55, about 309
reconnaissance vehicles, 131 armored vehicles, 99 armored
personnel carriers, 30 armored fighters and ten
self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has light
artillery, short-range anti-aircraft missiles and
The Air Force has a force of 350 active personnel.
Materials include one fighters of a MiG-29, ten attack
aircraft of the type Su-25, ten transport aircraft, four
trainers (three of which can also be used as light attack
aircraft) and 15 helicopters, five combat helicopters of the
Chad participated in 2018 in the UN operation in Mali (MINUSMA)
with 1447 personnel and three observers.