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Mauritania president says two-term limit will stay

Mauritanian Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrives to deliver a speech during a closing ceremony of a meeting with several political parties about proposed changes to the constitution, on October 20, 2016 in Nouakchott. Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has said a two-term limit for the presidency will remain in place after months of speculation he would attempt to run for a third stint in office. / AFP PHOTO / -

Mauritanian Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrives to deliver a speech during a closing ceremony of a meeting with several political parties about proposed changes to the constitution, on October 20, 2016 in Nouakchott.<br />Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has said a two-term limit for the presidency will remain in place after months of speculation he would attempt to run for a third stint in office. / AFP PHOTO / –

Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has said a two-term limit for the presidency will remain in place after months of speculation he would attempt to run for a third stint in office.

Speaking at the closing ceremony Thursday of a meeting with several political parties about proposed changes to the constitution, Aziz said: “This question has to come to an end. I am telling you the term limits will not be changed.”

Aziz came to power in a 2008 coup, before being elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2014 promising to respect the two-term limit, saying he would “in no way” attempt to alter it.

But several of his supporters have suggested he could run again if citizens were able to vote through changes to the constitution to allow it.

But the president said Thursday the charter “cannot be changed to further personal interests”.

Many countries, primarily in east Africa, have recently moved to overturn presidential term limits, sometimes triggering violent protests.

Aziz confirmed another controversial suggestion — removing the age limit for presidential candidates — would also be abandoned.

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