In a marked departure from many of his colleagues across the African continent, President Macky Sall of Senegal is seeking to have the term of office in his country reduced from seven to five years, with a maximum two-five-year mandate.

The change is part of several proposals for constitutional reforms which are to be put to a referendum and according to the president’s office, the move is aimed at strengthening democracy.

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Several African presidents have over time changed constitutions to extend their time in power.

The new constitution would not allow a president to run for more than two consecutive terms in office.

According to media reports, 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 Abdoulaye Wade, who had controversially sought a third term in office.

Term limit debate flares across Africa:

  • Rwanda held a referendum in December which voted overwhelmingly for the country’s current leader, Paul Kagame, to seek a third term and potentially stay in power until 2034.
  • In October, a similar referendum has already made it legal for Denis Sassou Nguesso, in Congo-Brazzaville, to run again in 2016. He has been in power for 31 years. Protests against the constitution change were brutally repressed.
  • Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, is seeking re-election this month. Term limits were scrapped in 2005.
  • Burundi has been engulfed in months of protests since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced last April he would run for a third term. Hundreds have died, there has been an attempted coup and a rebel movement has formed.
  • Elections are due in DR Congo this year but they may be postponed, enabling President Joseph Kabila to remain in office.