By Reuters, Wire Service Content

FILE PHOTO: Gambia's President Adama Barrow addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

BANJUL (REUTERS) - The Gambian parliament's rejection this week of a new constitution that would have limited the number of presidential terms represents a "dark day" for democracy, the leader of the West African nation's main opposition party said on Wednesday.

The draft bill included a two-term limit, which would have applied retroactively, preventing President Adama Barrow from emulating other West African leaders who have used new charters as reset buttons on their mandates.

After days of intense debate, 31 lawmakers in Parliament voted to reject the bill on Tuesday, while 21 voted to approve it for a national referendum.

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Reuters, by Aaron Ross

Guinea President Alpha Conde arrives for an African Union summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

DAKAR (Reuters) - Until this year, West Africa looked to have shed its “coup-belt” moniker, winning plaudits as a model of democratic progress on the continent. But last month’s putsch in Mali is fuelling fears among activists that gains of the past decade are unravelling.

The power grab came at a time when the presidents of Ivory Coast and Guinea are seeking third terms after winning referendums to alter constitutions that barred them from running again.

While elections are now held consistently across the region, such moves, combined with governments’ attempts to stifle political opposition, are making many West Africans lose faith in the ballot box as a way of holding leaders accountable, activists and analysts say.

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Africa Center for Strategic Studies

By Joseph Siegle and Candace Cook September 14, 2020

A growing pattern of evading term limits in Africa carries far-reaching consequences for the continent’s governance, security, and development.

See the highlights of this study by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies by following this link

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