[JURIST] Elections are being held in several African countries on Sunday, a day many people have called "Super Sunday." Citizens in Benin, Cape Verde, Congo, Niger, and Zanzibar are voting [BBC report] for President, while voters in Senegal are voting to reform [Reuters report] Presidential term limits. In Niger, the country is holding a Presidential run-off election [Al-Jazeera Report] to determine the final results. While in Benin, Cape Verde and Zanzibar there are elections being held as well. In Congo-Brazzaville, in order to facilitate fair elections, telecommunications have been cut off [Reuters Report] for 48 hours in order to prevent newspapers and other media sources from illegally posting results.
The modification of presidential term limits by constitutional reform is a current issue in many nations around the world, especially in Africa. In February the Parliament of Algeria approved a package of constitutional reforms [JURIST report], including a two-term limit for the office of the president. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] African leaders to avoid using loopholes and undemocratic constitutional changes to "cling to power." In his address at the twenty-sixth African Union [official website] Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ban stated, "[l]eaders should never use undemocratic constitutional changes and legal loopholes to cling to power. We have all seen the tragic consequences when they do. Leaders must protect their people, not themselves." In October, the Republic of Congo's electoral commission announced [JURIST report] that voters approved an amendment to the nation's constitution that will allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his term in office, thereby overruling the former constitutional age limit of 70 years to hold the office of the president.