Senegal: Votes in favour of shortening presidential terms

Senegal voted in favour of constitutional changes including reducing presidential terms in a national referendum put forward by President Macky Sall.

Sall proposed the reform arguing it would further bolster Senegal's already stable democracy. But he has been criticised for not proposing to cut his own first term, as he pledged before he was elected.

The 'yes' vote in Sunday's referendum won 62.7 percent of ballots from a national turnout of 38.3 percent, Senegal's election commission said.

The proposal they approved reduces presidential terms to five years from seven, starting after the next election in 2019. It also limits the age of presidential candidates to 75 and allows independents to run.

In the past year leaders of several other African nations including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo have sought to extend their rule. In Burundi and Congo, this triggered protests and led to violence.

In Senegal, prominent political opponents had called for people to vote "No", an outcome which would likely have weakened Sall politically.
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