Chad, Cameroon could reintroduce presidential term limits

Chad's President Deby. The leader has promised to reintroduce presidential term limits if re-elected. PHOTO | FILE 

Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno, has promised to reintroduce constitutional term limits if he wins a fifth term in an election slated for April 10, 2016.

The leader, who has ruled the oil-rich central African country since 1990, was on Tuesday named the candidate of his Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party for the presidential polls.

"The principles of presidential term limits in the constitution must be reintroduced," the Chadian president said at the convention of his ruling party in N’Djamena.

"Today nothing requires us to remain in a system where changing leaders becomes difficult ... In 2005 the constitutional reform was conducted in a context where the life of the nation was in danger," the Chadian leader said.

Candidates have between February 10 and 29 to file their bid. If no outright winner emerges from the first round, there will be a runoff vote on May 9.

President Deby’s promise on term limits came at a time when leaders of some African countries, including Burundi, Rwanda and Congo Republic have challenged constitutional term limits.

In Cameroon, local newspaper reports say president Paul Biya, 83, who has been in power since 1982, may also reintroduce presidential term limits. The speculation is rife amid calls from his supporters to seek another mandate when his current seven years term expires in 2018.

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There are fears that newly elected French and US presidents may object to President Biya's new term bid in 2018.

The leader wouldn’t have been ineligible for the 2011 presidential elections had parliament not tinkered with the 1996 constitution and done away with presidential term limits in 2008, a move critics say was remote-controlled by the leader.

Supporters of the ruling CPDM party are said to have “begged” the president to contest after parliament scrapped the term limits.

The leader claimed that by running for the 2011 presidential elections, he was responding to the “The People’s Call”.

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