Stopping the President: Why Conflicts Over Presidential Term Limits in Africa and Latin America Are so Explosive
In November 2019, thousands swept the streets of Conakry, Guinea, in protest against Alpha Condé’s plans to eliminate the country’s constitutional presidential two-term limit. Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into resigning from a fourth presidential term by popular and military pressure. These are only recent examples of incumbents seeking to extend their time in office by any means possible.
In presidential systems of government, constitutional term limits provide an important check on presidential power. Yet, since the late 1990s, Africa and Latin America have been hit by a fervour for changing or doing away with term limits in order to prolong presidents’ time in office. However not all attempts have been successful. In this GIGA Talk, we will discuss why the conflicts over presidential term limits matter so much for democracy, and what implications they have for the international community in dealing with these domestic struggles.