France will potentially elect a new president this year unless voters remain loyal to Emmanuel Macron, elected in 2017.
We outline the key dates for voting and beyond below.
This is the date when contestants are officially monitored for the time they spend speaking on television and radio, to ensure balanced coverage. Monitoring will be carried out by the Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication.
January 30 (at the latest)
For a candidate to stand, he must receive the support of 500 elected officials.
These 500 signatures, called sponsorships in French, must come from officials from at least 30 different departments, including no more than a tenth from a single department.
Many potential candidates have already lobbied elected officials for their vote.
But elected officials can officially give their signature only during a fixed period which begins after the publication of a special decree. This should take place at least 10 weeks before the first round of voting, i.e. January 30.
This date marks the end of the period when elected officials can give their signature (at 6:00 p.m.). It is also the deadline for public registration on the electoral lists (online registration ends on March 2).
March 11 (at the latest)
The official publication of the list of candidates for the election, as established by the Constitutional Council.
The official campaigns of the candidates can begin.
End of the official campaign for the first round in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, French Polynesia and in the embassies and consular posts located on the American continent (including Hawaii).
End of the official campaign for the first round (the dissemination of electoral messages is prohibited from April 8 at midnight).
The first round of voting takes place
In Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin and French Polynesia, voters vote the day before to take into account the time difference.
April 14 (at the latest)
The Constitutional Council must validate the results of the election on this date, and establish which are the two candidates who will present themselves in the second round (if there is no absolute winner in the first round).
There has been a second ballot in every election since the current electoral system was introduced in 1965.
Start of the official political campaign for the two candidates running in the second round
End of the official campaign for the second round (the dissemination of electoral messages is prohibited from April 22 midnight). Voting ends a day earlier for several overseas territories (mentioned above)
The second round of voting takes place (this is done the day before for some voters residing in a different time zone).
April 28 (at the latest)
Decision of the Constitutional Council validating the results of the election and the official declaration of the new President of France.
May 13 (at the latest)
The transfer of power. The new candidate replaces the old one that day. This must occur no later than the last day of the outgoing president’s term.
June 24 (at the latest)
Final submission of candidates’ campaign accounts, including receipts and expenditures.
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