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The constitutional council and the presidential election

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Press release

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Article 58 of the Constitution grants the Constitutional Council the power to oversee the regularity of the election of the President of the Republic, to examine challenges and to announce the results of the ballot.

Law no. 62-1292 of 16 November 1962 on the election of the President of the Republic by universal suffrage specifies the extent of this mission: the preparation and conduct of balloting, the declaration of the results and challenges filed by candidates against the decisions of the National Commission of Campaign Accounts and Political Financing [Commission nationale des comptes de campagne et des financements politiques, CNCCFP].

Accordingly, the Constitutional Council is required to intervene at all stages of the presidential election:

  • Prior to the election, the Constitutional Council must be consulted regarding all preparatory acts adopted by the Government or by the relevant administrative authorities for the purpose of organising the ballot.
  • The Constitutional Council draws up and publishes the list of candidates in the presidential election .

To this effect, it receives petitions ("parrainages" or proposals) signed by elected officials in favour of the different candidates. In the last two elections, more than 16,000 proposals requiring verification were received by the Council. The review by the Constitutional Council consists in a verification that the legal conditions applicable to candidacies have been met, and in particular that each candidate has received at least five hundred proposals from eligible elected officials from at least 30 departments or local authorities or geographic bodies equivalent to a department for the purposes of this legislation

  • On the election day, the Constitutional Council monitors the proper conduct of electoral operations at the 65,000 polling stations. It appoints the returning officers (around 1,400 magistrates) who carry out this control throughout the country.

· On the day after each ballot, the Constitutional Council registers the votes; it examines any challenges and the reports from returning officers, rules on the validity of disputed votes and proclaims the election of the President of the Republic.

  • Finally, the Constitutional Council rules on any challenges brought by the candidates objecting to decisions issued regarding their campaign accounts by the National Commission of Campaign Accounts and Political Financing.

In order to provide comprehensive information regarding the presidential election process, the Council provides two resources to candidates, elected officials and citizens:

  • A section on its website containing information on the Presidential Election , including in particular Frequently Asked Questions relating to the organisation and conduct of the presidential election, applicable legislation and a range of useful links to the websites of authorities involved in this process.
  • volume 34 of the review Nouveaux Cahiers du Conseil constitutionnel , which gathers together studies by experts and university teachers on the question of proposals, radio and television regulations, opinion polls and campaign financing for candidates in the presidential election. It also contains an article on comparative law entitled "les cours constitutionnelles et suprêmes étrangères et l'élection présidentielle" ("Foreign constitutional and supreme courts and the presidential election"). To order, please call 0820 800 017 (€ 0.12 per minute, including tax) for the exceptional price of € 39, including tax.