A Simple Guide to the French Elections

As the 2017 French presidential elections approaches you may be wondering exactly how the Hexagon chooses its president. After all, being one of the most influential countries in Europe France has the power to set the tone for how many other European countries will act. Although the process is different than that of countries like the UK or the US, it’s overall quite simple and easy to understand.

How Does it Work?

To start off, contrary to elections in most other countries, the French election takes place in two rounds. On election day the French head to the polls to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. Traditionally there have been between six and twelve candidates on the ballot although there is no rule stating that this must be the case.

Elections in France always take place on a Sunday so that as many people are available to vote as possible.

After the results of the election have been tallied the top two candidates then face off two weeks later and the winner of this election becomes President of the French Republic.

Why Do it This Way?

The idea here is that a candidate needs to receive over 50% of the vote in order to become president. If during the first round a candidate achieves this then they automatically become president. Although this has never happened the rule is in place should it ever occur.

This election in particular marks the ninth French presidential election since the 5th French Republic was established back in 1959.

As in most countries there exists a list of requirements that someone must meet before they can present their candidature.

First of all, a potential candidate must be a French citizen and receive 500 signatures from French elected officials. These can be anything from mayors to members of parliament. They must also be of voting age and have a bank account dedicated to the campaign.

In France, unlike some other countries, voting is not mandatory.

And there you have it, a simple guide on what it takes to become President of France as well as how the election cycle works. At the time of this writing the first round of the 2017 election is about a month away. It’s so exciting to see who will lead the future of The French Republic!

Update: Emmanuel Macron has won the French Presidential Election!