How is the President of the French Republic elected?

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How is the President of the French Republic elected?

Who can vote?

Voters must be at least 18 years old. About 48.7 million French are registered on the electoral rolls of the place where they live.


Mail-in voting was banned in 1975 amid fears of potential fraud.

Machine voting was allowed as an experiment starting in 2002, but the purchase of new machines has been frozen since 2008 due to security concerns. Only a few dozens of towns still use them.


General Charles de Gaulle – a founding father of France’s Fifth Republic and its 1958 constitution, as well as the first president of France’s political modern era – was famously suspicious of political parties. He sought to curb their influence with a voting system he helped devise for choosing France’s leader by direct universal suffrage (starting with himself, as it happens, in 1965). As early as the 1940s, the World War II Resistance hero had advocated for a vote that would ultimately unite, not divide, the French public.

France’s presidential election is organized in two rounds. Twelve candidates met the conditions for Sunday’s vote, including Macron and French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen, his main challenger.

In theory, someone could win outright by garnering more than 50% of the vote in the first round, but that has never happened in France.

Only the two candidates with the most votes qualify for the 2nd round. The candidate with the absolute majority of votes cast is elected. Blank or spoilt votes are not taken into account.

Also Read: Difference between Common Law and Civil Law Systems

What is the ‘silence électoral’?

rance entered a period of “electoral silence” during which French media are barred from quoting candidates or publishing opinion polls to ensure they don’t unduly influence voters. These rules also apply to candidates and their teams, who are strictly barred from campaigning in the last 44 hours before polling stations.

How much do campaigns spend?

French campaign financing is regulated under a strict ceiling: For 2022, a first-round candidate can spend no more than €16,851,000 on the effort. A candidate who garners enough votes to earn a place in the second round sees the total allowed spending rise to €22,509,000.