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Presidential term reforms, Senegal readies for crucial referendum

Presidential term reforms, Senegal readies for crucial referendum

Senegal

Voters in Senegal go to the polls in three days to vote for or against a referendum that seeks to reduce the presidential mandate from the current seven years to five years.

The referendum instigated by the president Macky Sall is the first of a sitting African president. Campaigns are currently underway for the March 20th crucial vote.

The president submitted 15 proposals for amendment of the Constitution last month and camps for and against the blueprint have been conducting door to door campaigns.

It is essential that politics does not pollute the atmosphere so that citizens can vote knowing the full knowledge of this project

Several parties including members of the opposition and civil society activists have called on people to reject the proposed reforms.

Even so, Sall has encouraged the people to vote in favour of the referendum in order to strengthen democracy.

“It is essential that politics does not pollute the atmosphere so that citizens can vote knowing the full knowledge of this project which will definitely strengthen our democracy so that no elected president can not do more than two terms of five years,” Sall said.

The 54 year old pledged during his 2012 campaign that he would cut down the presidents mandate starting with his own term in line with regional norms.

Sall appears to be the only African president reading from a different script. Several African leaders continue to extend their rule in their respective nations.

Rwanda was the latest African country to change its constitution in December, allowing President Paul Kagame to potentially extend his two decade rule.

In the Republic of Congo, voters overwhelmingly voted to scrap a two-term limit whiles in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, there is speculation that president Joesph Kabila is seeking to extend his term in office by delaying elections slated later this year.

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