Senegal votes in Constitutional Referendum
Senegal is holding an important constitutional referendum today which will see sweeping changes to the political system in the country if it is passed.
The referendum is the culmination of a pledge by incumbent President Macky Sall during his 2012 presidential election campaign. His predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, has tried to stand for a third seven year term and Sall pledged that if he was elected he would reduce presidential terms to five years.
President Sall introduced his constitutional changes last year but was blocked by a high court ruling preventing them without a full referendum.
The changes proposed in the referendum include:
- The restoration of the five-year presidential term
- The modernisation of political parties
- The participation of independent candidates in all types of elections
- Strengthening of the rights of the opposition and its leader
- Increasing the powers of parliament in scrutinising the work of the Executive
- Greater powers for local government and more decentralisation including a High Council of Communities
- Strengthening the competence and independence of the Constitutional Council
- New citizens’ rights including the rights to natural resources
There are total of fifteen changes proposed in the referendum document.
There are 5 million eligible voters who will be voting between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time.
The opposition are urging a No vote and have made the campaign a vote on the popularity of the president.