By presidential term extensions, I mean broadly measures like: allowing more terms than before, extending their length, and even allowing special purpose measures that effectively apply the previous two kinds measures to specific people by "disregarding" some previous terms.

Such issues are often enough enshrined in constitutions that require referendums to amend. And amendments by referendums are generally costly to organize and less flexible in their scope than changes via representative systems because unlike a parliamentarian, the "average Joe public" voter can't easily propose a last minute changes to the provisions on the ballot.

So, how common is for such measures regarding presidential term extensions (as defined further above) to bundled with other issues in a "take or leave it" package of constitutional reforms, subject to a single referendum question?

I'm mostly interested if there's a reasonably formal surveys of such "bundled" extensions relative to cases where the term extensions could be voted on individually/separately (such a survey would necessarily be across countries, since a single a country won't have that many of these events).

  • I suppose you are concerned about countries where the president has a significant amount of power. For instance in Ireland the president has term limits which are specified in the constitution but the president has very little power. For reference those limits have never been changed and out of the 38 amendments only one was noted as being an omnibus bill (in 1927). You may also be interested in referenda to change the election rules in parliamentary systems. Eg, Change or remove the requirement to have an election every 5 years and a government could "democratically" hang on indefinitely.
    – Eric Nolan
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 11:00
  • 2
    I don't know if anyone has assembled a central list of all such attempts to extend term limits, but this article references several lesser-known examples.
    – Bobson
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


Here is a list of referendums by country. When a referendum is held to approve a new constitution, this often includes extensions to presidential terms and/or extensions to presidential powers.

I didn't go through the whole list but some examples:

1980 Chilean referendum as far as I understand included a term extension (8 years) for Augusto Pinochet.

1993 Russian referendum didn't explicitly ask for term extensions or additional powers for the then Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, but he later tried to use the result of this referendum to get an extension of emergency powers from the Russian Parliament.

2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum was about granting more powers to the then Kenyan president Kibaki.

  • 1
    Somewhat useful, but that Wikipedia list looks hopelessly out of date and incomplete. I'm pretty sure Russia has had more recent referendums than that. And some countries that I've read about in Bobson's article don't appear at all on that Wikipedia page, e.g. Guinea. Commented May 10, 2022 at 13:38
  • The one(s) in Azerbaijan don't appear in that list either. This (2016) one involved separate votes for each issue. That one only extended the length of the term though. There was a 2009 one that abolished the term limit, but I can't tell for sure how it was conducted (separate issues or not); it seem they were still separate votes. Commented May 10, 2022 at 13:46
  • Bolivia is also not summarized on that page. The had a single issue referendum in 2016 on a 3rd term and that one was (narrowly) rejected. Commented May 10, 2022 at 13:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .