Senegal’s Macky Sall submits proposal to limit president’s term

Senegalese leader Macky Sall’s proposal to limit presidents to two consecutive terms was Monday submitted to the constitutional council, putting him at odds with several fellow African heads of state criticised for clinging to power.

The text, which details guidelines set out by the president in his New Year greeting and was broadcast by state media, covers 15 reforms, including electoral rules and expanding the powers of the national assembly and the constitutional council.

Sall, who was elected in February 2012 for a seven-year term and pledged to reduce his mandate to five years, has expressed his intention to submit the reform to a referendum in May 2016, which will determine whether the next presidential election will be held in 2017 or 2019.

According to the text, several of the amended articles, including the one on presidential terms, apply to the current mandate and cannot be revised.

“It is before the constitutional council and its decision will not be long,” a source told AFP, without giving any timescale.

The highest court in the country has “in principle one month” to give an opinion on the reforms that have been submitted, a constitutional expert told AFP.

In March 2015, Sall said reducing his own mandate would set an example, making good on his election campaign pledge.

“We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself,” he said.

African nations where laws have been changed to the benefit of their incumbent leaders include Algeria, Angola, Chad, Djibouti and Uganda.

The US and European Union have also criticised Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s intention to run for a third term following a constitutional amendment.

Burundi descended into bloodshed in April last year when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, sparking a failed coup.

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