Senegal held a referendum on Sunday, seen as a test of President Macky Sall’s popularity, that could usher in major constitutional reform but which critics say falls short of his election promises.
Put forward by Sall, the vote proposes reducing presidential terms to five years from seven, starting after the next election in 2019, just as leaders of other African nations including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo seek to extend theirs.
It also aims to limit the age of presidential candidates to 75 and allow independents to run.
Sall says the reforms are vital to bolster Senegal’s already stable democracy but he has come under widespread criticism, including from influential politicians, for not proposing to cut his own first term, as he pledged before he was elected.
A “No” would be likely to leave him politically weakened. Political opponents have called on people to vote “No” in protest against Sall. Many say he has failed to deliver on his campaign promises, including creating jobs for the young, boosting the economy and rooting out corruption.