Senegal’s President Macky Sall is proposing a referendum on reducing his mandate by two years, a stance in contrast to several fellow African leaders criticised for clinging to power.
Sall said he wanted presidential elections in 2017 rather than two years later in what his office says is an aim to strengthen democracy.
The pledge rebuts a trend in other African countries where Presidents have reneged on their words to contest for a third term in office.
When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we've seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.
Rwandan president Pail Kagame is the latest to seek an extended time in power after changes to the country’s constitutional limit that had allowed only two terms.
Kagame announced in a televised New Year’s Day address to the nation that he would seek a third presidential term after Rwanda’s parliament voted in favor of changes to the constitution that could allow him to seek additional terms and stay in power until 2034.
During his July trip to Africa, President Obama urged African Union leaders to ensure presidents on the continent respected constitutional term limits.
“When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we’ve seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path,” said the American president.
Reports say that after reducing his term in office, Mr Sall is then expected to put himself forward for re-election in 2017 instead of 2019.
Other suggested amendments to the constitution include an upper age limit of 75 years.
The date of the referendum is yet to be announced.
Mr Sall, 54, was elected in 2012, defeating the incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, who had controversially sought a third term in office.