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Senegal leader offers to reduce term as ‘example to Africa’

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Senegal's President Macky Sall arrives in Brisbane of Australia to attend the G20 summit on Nov. 14, 2014/XINHUA-File

Senegal’s President Macky Sall arrives in Brisbane of Australia to attend the G20 summit on Nov. 14, 2014/XINHUA-File

DAKAR, Senegal, Mar 18 – Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Tuesday proposed a referendum on reducing his mandate by two years, a stance in contrast to several fellow African leaders criticised for clinging to power.

The pledge came with countries including Benin, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville all said to be considering constitutional change to allow their leaders a third term in office.

“I was elected for seven years (but) next year, I will propose the organisation of a referendum for the reduction of my mandate,” he told a news conference with foreign media in Dakar.

The move would allow “a revision of the constitution, first on the mandate and then on some other aspects to strengthen our democracy”, he said, adding that he wanted the vote to take place in May next year.

“Have you ever seen presidents reduce their mandate? Well I’m going to do it,” Sall told the meeting at the presidency, making good on a pledge which formed part of his election campaign in 2012.

“We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself,” he added.

Sall said he wanted presidential elections in 2017 rather than two years later, as envisaged under current constitutional arrangements, but would not be drawn on whether he intended to stand for a second term.

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