The Case for Presidential Term Limits

Issue Date January 2007
Volume 18
Issue 1
Page Numbers 128-142
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Presidential term limits have spread very widely, but the challenge today is that of enforcement. Term limits are an important instrument of democratization in electoral-authoritarian countries: this is not just because they constrain the power of individual leaders, but also because they tend to promote political party alternation, as in Croatia in 2000 and Kenya in 2002, which in turn fosters democratization. The international community can promote presidential term limits compliance through deepening the norm of term limits, using aid conditionality, addressing the incentives of incumbent leaders, and encouraging the entrenchment of term limits in constitutions.