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Decision no. 2012-4565/4567/4568/4574/4575/4576/4577 AN of 18 OCTOBER 2012

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Electoral disputes which have been the object of a QPC : Val-de-Marne (1st district) Mr Jean-François LE HELLOCO and others

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL,

Having regard, first, to application no. 2012-4565 filed on behalf of Mr Jean-François LE HELLOCO, residing in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, registered on 21 June 12 with the general secretariat of the Constitutional Council seeking the annulment of the elections held on 10 and 17 June 2012 in the 1st district of Val-de-Marne for the appointment of a deputy to the National Assembly;

Having regard, second, to application no. 2012-4567 filed on behalf of Mr Akli MELLOULI, residing in Bonneuil-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne) by SELARL D4 associate counsel, Counsel at the Paris bar, registered as above on 21 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard, third, to application no. 2012-4568 filed by Mr Kévin CORNET, residing in Paris, registered as above on 22 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard, fourth, to application no. 2012-4574 filed by Ms Ghislaine RAMON, residing in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Val-de-Marne), registered as above on 25 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard, fifth, to application no. 2012-4575 filed by Ms Ghislaine RAMON, residing in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Val-de-Marne), registered as above on 25 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard, sixth, to application no. 2012-4576 filed by Ms Marie-Pierre DOUÇOT, residing in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Val-de-Marne), registered as above on 25 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard, seventh, to application no. 2012-4577 filed by Ms Anne-Lise FARKOA, residing in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Val-de-Marne), registered as above on 25 June 2012 seeking the same remedy;

Having regard to the observations filed by the Interior Minister, registered as above on 30 July 2012;

Having regard to the defence written statements filed on behalf of Mr Henri PLAGNOL, deputy, by SELARL Cabanes Neveu associates and SCP Carbonnier, Lamaze, Rasle and associates, Attorneys at the Paris bar, registered as above on 2 August 2012;

Having regard to the written statement filed on behalf of Mr PLAGNOL, deputy, by SELARL Cabanes Neveu associates and SCP Carbonnier, Lamaze, Rasle and associates, Attorneys at the Paris bar, in support of the application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality registered as above on 2 August 2012;

Having regard to the written statement file by Mr MELLOULI, registered as above on 28 August 2012;

Having regard to the observations of the Prime Minister, registered as above on 30 August 2012;

Having regard to the other documents produced and appended to the case file;

Having regard to the Constitution;

Having regard to Ordinance no. 58-1067 of 7 November 1958 as amended, concerning the basic law on the Constitutional Council;

Having regard to Ordinance no. 58-998 of 24 October 1958 concerning the basic law on eligibility conditions and parliamentary incompatibility;

Having regard to Ordinance no. 59-224 of 2 February 1959 completing and amending Ordinance no. 58-998 of 24 October 1958 concerning the basic law on eligibility conditions and parliamentary incompatibility;

Having regard to basic law no. 85-689 of 10 July 1985 concerning the election of deputies from overseas territories, the territorial collectivity of Mayotte and the territorial collectivity of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, and Constitutional Council decision no. 85-194 DC of the same day;

Having regard to decree no. 64-1086 of 27 October 1964 amending the Electoral Code;

Having regard to the Electoral Code;

Having regard to the regulation governing the procedure followed before the Constitutional Council in relation to disputes concerning the election of deputies and senators;

Having heard Christophe Cabanes Esq. and Jérôme Grand D'Esnon Esq. on behalf of Mr PLAGNOL, Florian Mokhtar Esq. on behalf of Mr MELLOULI at the hearing of 9 October 2012;

Having heard the Rapporteur;

1. Considering that the aforementioned applications concern the same election; that there are grounds to join them for resolution in a single decision;

2. Considering that the applicants argue in support of their applications directed against the elections held on 10 and 17 June 2012 in the 1st district of Val-de-Marne that Mr Jacques LEROY, a replacement member for Mr Henri PLAGNOL, has the status of a replacement for a senator and was accordingly ineligible, pursuant to the provisions of Article L.O. 134 of the Electoral Code; that Mr PLAGNOL argues in his defence that this Article infringes rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution;

THE APPLICATION FOR A PRIORITY PRELIMINARY RULING ON THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY:

3. Considering that Article L. L.O. 134 of the Electoral Code provides: "A deputy, a senator or a replacement member of a parliamentary assembly may not act as a replacement for a candidate to the National Assembly";

4. Considering that, according to the party filing the application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality, these provisions violate Article 6 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen on the grounds that they cause a disproportionate violation to the right to stand as a candidate and the principle of equality before the law;

5. Considering that the provisions of Article L.O. 134 of the Electoral Code reflect Article 6 of the aforementioned Ordinance of 24 October 1958, as in force pursuant to Article 1 of the aforementioned Ordinance of 4 February 1959; that these provisions were codified by the aforementioned Decree of 27 October 1964; that pursuant to Article 5 of the basic law of 10 July 1985, the provisions of the Ordinance of 24 October 1958 "contained in the Electoral Code (legislative part) as amended and supplemented by the following texts" have "force of law"; that the Constitutional Council upheld the basic law of 10 July 1985 as constitutional in recital 2 and Article 1 of its aforementioned decision of 10 July 1985;

6. Considering that the contested provisions have been upheld as constitutional in the substantive part and the operative part of a decision of the Constitutional Council; that in the absence of a change in circumstances, there are no grounds for the Constitutional Council to examine the aforementioned application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality;

THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE L.O. 134 OF THE ELECTORAL CODE:

7. Considering that Mr LEROY appeared in a list of candidates in the elections to the Senate which were held in the department of Val-de-Marne on 25 September 2011, immediately after the elected candidate Ms Catherine PROCACCIA; that pursuant to the provisions of Article L.O. 320 of the Electoral Code, Mr LEROY therefore acquired the status as a replacement member for a senator pursuant to Article L.O. 134 of the Code; that he could not therefore act as a replacement for Mr PLAGNOL, a candidate in the 1st district of Val-de-Marne in the parliamentary elections of 10 and 17 June 2012;

8. Considering that, pursuant to Article L.O. 189 of the Electoral Code, the Constitutional Council "shall rule on the legality of the election both of the successful candidate as well as the replacement member"; that in view of the ineligibility of Mr LEROY, there are grounds to annul the election of Mr PLAGNOL; that this decision does not however imply that Mr MELLOULI should be declared to have been elected,

HELD :

Article 1. – There is no reason for the Constitutional Council to determine the priority ruling on constitutionality filed by Mr Henri PLAGNOL.

Article 2. – The elections which were held on 10 and 17 June 2012 in the 1st district of Val-de-Marne are hereby annulled.

Article 3. – The arguments contained in the application by Mr Akli MELLOULI that he should be declared to have been elected are rejected.

Article 4. This decision shall be served on the President of the National assembly and published in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic.

Deliberated by the Constitutional Council in its session of 18 October 2012, sat on by: Mr Jean-Louis DEBRÉ, President, Mr Jacques BARROT, Mrs Claire BAZY MALAURIE, Mr. Guy CANIVET, Mr. Michel CHARASSE, Mr. Renaud DENOIX de SAINT MARC, Mrs Jacqueline de GUILLENCHMIDT, Mr. Hubert HAENEL, and Mr. Pierre STEINMETZ.