Country Listing

Chad Table of Contents



Constitutional System

Between 1959 and 1988, Chad's constitution was revised six times and altered by several major amendments. The preindependence constitution adopted by the territorial assembly in March 1959 was modified at independence in 1960. The new document established a parliamentary system of government with an executive prime minister. Further revisions in 1962 strengthened the executive, and the 1965 constitution eliminated all rivals to the ruling party, the PPT. In 1973 President Tombalbaye codified in the constitution his version of the authenticité movement to reaffirm indigenous values. This movement required civil servants to undergo initiation rites common to some ethnic constituencies of the south. Following a military coup in 1975, in which Tombalbaye was killed, and the general deterioration of state institutions, lengthy negotiations in 1978 led to a new constitution that established an unsuccessful coalition among Chad's warring factions.

In June 1982, when Habré seized control of N'Djamena, he dissolved the existing government and in October promulgated the Fundamental Law, a document that served as an interim constitution through 1988. In July 1988, Habré appointed a constitutional committee to draft a new document to be presented to the government in 1989.

The Fundamental Law of 1982 declared Chad a secular, indivisible republic, with ultimate power deriving from the people. Both French and Arabic were adopted as official languages, and "Unity-Work-Progress" was adopted as the nation's motto. The constitution authorized the office of president, Council of Ministers (cabinet), National Advisory Council (Conseil National Consultatif--CNC, an interim legislature), and national army. It placed overriding authority for controlling all of these in the office of the president.

Data as of December 1988