In March 2003, President Yoweri Museveni proposed extending presidential term limits, allowing him to run for a third five-year term in office. Museveni, who came to power in a 1986 coup, retained power in the country's first presidential election in 1996 and was re-elected in 2001. His proposal for a third term drew criticism from many sectors of Ugandan society, including some of Museveni's own ministers. The president also suggested that a 17-year ban on multiparty politics could be lifted, subject to a referendum. Press reports and political commentators speculated that the president could be trying to secure a compromise by allowing multiparty politics in return for a third term.