Déby, Idriss

Déby, Idriss ĭdrĭsˈ dĕbēˈ [key], 1952–2021, Chadian military and political leader, president of Chad (1990–2021), b. Fada. Trained in military schools in Chad and France, he returned to Chad in 1979 to serve in the armed forces. When Hissène Habré came to power in 1982, Déby became head of the armed forces and won major victories over rebel groups in the 1980s. He later was an adviser on security and defense. In the late 1980s, as Habré's rule became increasingly repressive, Déby left for Sudan, where he formed the Patriotic Movement of Salvation. In 1990, promising democratic reforms and a new constitution, Déby ousted Habré. A transitional government was set up in 1993 with Déby as president, but promised elections were not held until 1996, when Déby was returned to office; he was reelected in 2001 and, after presidential term limits were ended, in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021. His regime has been accused of corruption, political repression, and electoral fraud, and the government and army have been dominated by Déby's Zaghawa ethnic group. He has been opposed by various rebel groups, which twice have advanced to the capital in attempts to oust him. Déby was killed on the battlefield one day after declaring victory in his reelection in 2021. His son, Mahamat Idriss Déby, was named as the head of a transitional government that will rule for 18 months until new elections can be held.

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