Presidential elections in France. Dossier
© EPA/IAN LANGSDON
TASS-FILE. On April 23, 2017 in France will host the first round of presidential elections. The second round is scheduled for may 7. Editorial from the guardian, the DOSSIER prepared material about the powers of the President and the voting process.
The powers of the President
According to the Constitution of 1958 (as amended), France is a presidential-parliamentary Republic.
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The President is the guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity and observance of treaties, ensures the normal functioning of state bodies. The head of state plays a key role in the system of Executive power – he appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister and members of the government, chairing the Council of Ministers, is the commander of the armed forces . The President holds the appointment of senior civil and military officials, submit to a referendum draft laws, has the right to dissolve Parliament, may take any emergency measures “dictated by circumstances”, the right of pardon. The President is not accountable to Parliament (the Parliament responsible only to the government).
The term of office is five years (2000 seven years). The same person cannot hold the presidential post more than two consecutive terms (in accordance with the constitutional amendment of 2008).
The procedure for the election
The President of France is elected by direct universal suffrage (until 1965 by an electoral College). Candidate must be a citizen of France over 23 years, submitted to the constitutional Council (performs the functions of the election Commission) not less than 500 signatures of the guarantors, holding elected office (members of Parliament, mayors, municipal councillors), from at least 30 departments or overseas territories. Candidates must pay a cash Deposit (approximately €1.5 million returns in the case of obtaining at least 5% of votes), and represents a Declaration about the property status.
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For conducting the election campaign, the government provides all candidates equal opportunities. In particular, the national broadcasters are obliged to provide all participants the same duration airtime for election campaigning.
Elections are held by majority system. To win in the first round, a candidate must obtain an absolute majority of votes, however, the history of the direct election of the head of state to any of the contenders to achieve such a result was not possible. In the second round are the two candidates with the highest number of votes. Turnout does not exist.
Incumbent President Francois Hollande has decided not to stand as a candidate in these elections, which was the first such case in the history of the Fifth Republic (since 1958). By the end of 2016, the approval rating of its activity was 14-19%, the lowest rate in the history of France.
To participate in the elections was 11 candidates. According to surveys by the French Institute of studying of public opinion (Ifop) from 17 to 20 April 2017, the best chance of reaching the second round are the leader of the centrist movement “On the March” Emmanuel macron (24%) and the head of the far-right party the front national (NF) marine Le Pen (22.5 per cent). Behind them in the ranking preferences of the voters are following the candidate from right party “the Republicans” Francois Fillon was 19.5%, the leader of the left movement “Natchinaetsja France,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon is 18.5% and the representative of the Socialist party, Benoit Hamon – 7%. At the time of registration of candidates by the constitutional Council on 18 March 2017 in the first place in the popularity rating was marine Le Pen – 26%, and Emmanuel macron took the second place – 25%. François Fillon was supported by 18%, Benoit Amon – 12.5%, and closes the top five leaders Jean-Luc Mélenchon – of 11.5%.
Bets on the victory of candidates accepted by leading international bookmakers. Their predictions practically coincide with the results of opinion polls. The main participants of the race the bookies have a different ratio than above estimated the chances of the candidate to win, the lower the ratio. The French branch of one of the largest bookmakers – Bwin is taking bets on the following factors: Emmanuel macron – 1,70, marine Le Pen – 4, françois Fillon – 4,75, Jean-Luc Mélenchon – 13.
For the post of the head of state also claimed the Chairman of right party “get Up, France” Nicolas DuPont-Aignan (at the time of check in, the COP had 4.5% of the votes, currently 4%), the leader of the extreme left party “working struggle” Natali Arto (1% and 0.5%), the representative left New anti-capitalist party Philip Harris (0,5% and 1,5%), the head of the left party “Resist!” Jean Lassalle (0,5% and 1,5%), Chairman of the right “of the Republican people’s Union” Francois Asselin (0.5% and 1%) and the head of the right-wing “Solidarity and progress” Jacques Cheminade (less than 0.5% over the entire period).
Active suffrage is granted to citizens of France, under the age of 18. This is currently more than 46 million people with a population of about 67 million