The president had, on the sidelines of the world climate conference in Paris in December 2015, said he preferred the five-year tenure.
But in a nationwide broadcast on Tuesday night, he said the decision had been rejected by a five-man Constitutional Council known as ‘Wisemen’.
President Sall explained that the Wisemen insisted that it would be unconstitutional if he curtailed his term to five years as opposed to seven stipulated by the constitution.
He then went on to announce that a national referendum would take place on March 20, to decide on the tenure.
The pronouncement means that the Senegalese presidential polls will not be held in 2017.
Like his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade, President Sall had promised to reduce the term to five years.
Mr Wade ran a first mandate of seven years and agreed to stand for only five years on a second one, giving him a total of 12 years that ended in 2012.
He had wanted a third term of five years, but was defeated in a tightly-held run-off.
Former French colonies inherited the seven-year presidential term from France.
Neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire has reduced the term to five years.
Culled from Africa Review