Benin's National Assembly has narrowly rejected a proposal by President Patrice Talon to amend the constitution.
He was seeking to limit his successors to a single six-year term in office.
Mr Talon was elected last year, saying he wanted to shorten presidential terms to combat complacency.
He needed the approval of three-quarters of the National Assembly to go ahead with the change.
The one-term proposal appears to be in contrast to what is happening in some countries, such as Rwanda and the Republic of Congo and Burundi, where presidents have had their time in office extended.
The term-limit proposal was part of a raft of changes to the constitution including setting a cap on political party funding.
But some of Mr Talon's critics say that singe term presidencies are open to abuse, as the president would not have to court the favour of voters at the end of his term.
It is not known if the president, who was elected last year, will seek a second term as provided by the constitution. Or whether he will organise a referendum to amend the constitution, as he had promised before he came to power.