Senegal's president to limit presidential term

Reform package prepared by Senegalese President Mack Sally including presidential term limit to be urged by constitutional council on Monday

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Senegalese President Macky Sall

A reform package proposed on Monday to Senegal's constitutional court by Senegalese President Macky Sall will place limits of two consecutive terms on the presidency.

The reform package includes 15 different reforms including changes to electoral rules and enlarging the powers of the national assembly and the constitutional council.

Sall, who previously vowed to reduce his presidential term to five years has also announced his intention to organise a referendum, allowing the reforms to be voted on by the public in May 2016.

The constitutional council, the highest court in Senegal, will announce its opinions about the reforms prepared by President Sall, a constitutional expert told Agence France Presse.

Sall said regarding the reforms that, "We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself."

The reforms also will decide whether the next presidential elections will take place in either 2017 or 2019.

Fifty four-year old Senegalese President Mack Sell was elected in a presidential election in 2012 amid huge protests against former president Abdoulaye Wade’s decision to stay in power for a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit in Senegal, one of the most stable democratic countries in Africa.

A protester wearing a gas mask holds a sign reading ''Stop the third mandate'' near a burning barricade in the Mugasa neighbourhood of Bujumbura on May 6, 2015.

Third-term issue spreads in Africa

Rwanda held a referendum in December over constitutional changes allowing a third seven-year term for current president Paul Kagame who may stay in power until 2034 under the approved constitution.

A similar referandum had been organised in Republic of Congo to allow current president Denis Sassou Nguesso to run in the 2016 presidential election for a third term. Popular protests against Nguesso’s were met with a brutal government crackdown. Nguesso has already ruled the country for 31 years.

Burundi has been in a cycle of deadly violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s victory in a disputed July 2015 election following his decision to seek a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit.

According to the UN, at least 400 people were killed and almost 3,500 arrested in the political unrest in Burundi, while more than 239,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, fearing a possible genocide.

TRTWorld and agencies