Chad has passed a charter declaring Mahamat Idriss Deby president, despite rumours of his death trending on social media.
Mahamat takes over in place of his father, Idriss Deby, who was killed this week.
The charter said the 37-year-old son of the late war veteran, who on Tuesday was swiftly named transitional leader as head of a military council following his father’s death, will “occupy the functions of the president of the republic” and also serve as head of the armed forces.
The charter repeals the preceding constitution and will be implemented as the “basic law of the republic,” according to its terms.
The younger Deby has also been named “supreme head of the armed forces,” it said.
Deby’s son had overseen his father’s security as head of the elite presidential guard and had often appeared alongside him.
Mahamat Deby is best known as a top commander of the Chadian forces assisting a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the restive north of neighbouring Mali.
He signed a decree Tuesday setting out a military council with 15 generals, including himself and 14 others known to have been part of the late president’s circle of loyalists.
The council is tasked with an 18-month transition toward “free and democratic elections.”
Mahamat Idriss Deby also chairs the “military transition council, the council of ministers, the councils and superior committees of national defence,” according to the charter.
The new head of state will promulgate legislation adopted by the 69 members of the national transition council, who are named directly by Mahamat.
The Transition Charter, which contains 95 articles, also guarantees “freedom of opinion, conscience and worship.”
A transition government has been set up, whose members are named by the new president.
“The members of the army who are called to the transition government are discharged from all military duties,” the charter said.
The slain leader, who ruled with an iron fist for nearly 30 years, succumbed to wounds suffered during a visit to the battlefield in the country’s north where Chadian soldiers fought against a rebel group, the military announced on Tuesday.
Calling for calm, the army also announced a 6pm curfew and shut the country’s borders, while suspending the constitution and dissolving the National Assembly.
However, opposition politicians in Chad have rejected the army’s appointment of President Idriss Déby’s son to take over in the wake of his death.
Experts say that under Chadian law, the speaker of parliament should have taken power after Deby’s death and not his son.
“What the constitution says is that in the absence of the president or in case he dies, then the speaker of the parliament takes charge of the country for 40 days and so a transition is put in place until elections are held,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital, Ndjamena, said earlier on Tuesday.
“[But] the military announced that the legislative assembly has been dissolved and that the constitution also has been dissolved, so what they are doing is that they replaced the constitution with their own set of rules.”aw