Is it possible to postpone the presidential election?

Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Europe has undergone a geopolitical upheaval that has not been experienced since the 20th century. The French presidential election, which has already struggled to arouse most of France’s attention, is not far from being pushed into the background. Internet users are wondering about the April 10th and 24th presidential election calendar, especially after a very noisy weekend characterized by Vladimir Putin’s nuclear deterrence highlights. How far will military expansion go? Can war lead to postponement of the presidential election?

This kind of question had already appeared in the acute phase of the covid-19 pandemic. The second local elections for 2020, which were supposed to take place on March 22, 2020, have been postponed by the law of March 23, 2020. After that, the second election on June 28 was set by law. Therefore, a simple invoice was needed.

Things get a little more complicated in the constitutional presidential election. As explained in May last year, the deadline for the presidential election is set by the Constitution. Article 7 requires that elections be held at least 20 to 35 days before the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic. The government chose April 10th and 24th instead of April 17th and May 1st. Therefore, it is theoretically possible to postpone one week while staying within the scope of Article 7. Constitutionalist Jean-Philippe de Rossier explains that “convocation decree is sufficient,” even though he recognizes that “changing the date at the last moment is never happy.”

The same Article 7 provides for only one scenario, which leads to a postponement of the presidential election. “Before the first round, if one of the candidates finds himself dead or hindered, the Constitutional Council will declare the election postponed.” “This corresponds to the candidate’s inability to be a candidate,” Jean-Philippe Derosier specifies. “Disability is not defined. It is the Constitutional Council that decides and postpones whether or not there is a disability. According to constitutionalists, the declared candidate pieces will be part of it. Not.

Possibility of constitutional amendment

Article 16, which provides for the possibility of exercising exceptional powers in the event of a threat to national independence or territorial integrity, does not allow postponement of the presidential election. “It allows us to take useful steps, but it is constitutional. The duration of the mission is set by the Constitution,” Jean-Philippe Derosier argues.

Therefore, the basic law is in good contact with things. “If a small event leads to a postponement of ballots, it will open the door to all operations,” said a professor of public law. Especially because the presidential election has nothing to do with anyone. “It’s a matter of electing the head of the army,” he recalls.

Nevertheless, in theory, it could postpone the presidential election. It is to rewrite the Constitution. But it would envision the adoption of a draft constitution in a consistent manner between the two parliaments, and by parliamentary meetings in parliament. You will need at least three-fifths of the majority. “This presupposes a minimal bipartisan agreement,” emphasizes Jean-Philippe Delocier.

One question remains: can the concept of voting integrity apply in the event of a serious crisis and play on election day? “Changes in ballot integrity can only be evaluated when the ballot is done,” recalls the constitutionalists.