interim government, upper house, elected president, new constitution, elections
Political instability plagued Chad throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1989 a new constitution providing for an elected president and parliament came into effect. This constitution was suspended, and parliament dissolved, after an insurgent group, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, took power in December 1990. Chad was then ruled by an interim government consisting of a 33-member state council headed by a president. After internal pressure for elections mounted, a democratic constitution was approved by public referendum in March 1996. Under this constitution, the head of state is the president, who is popularly elected to a five-year term and restricted to two terms. A popularly elected, 155-seat National Assembly serves as the countryís legislature. Its members serve four-year terms. The constitution also allows for the optional creation of a popularly elected Senate to serve as the upper house of the legislature.
In 2001 Chad maintained an army of 25,000 members and an air force of 350. The country has signed defense agreements with France, which gives Chadís army technical and other aid.
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