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Signatures, power transfer: key dates for French presidential election

The two rounds of voting for France’s next president are scheduled for April 10 and April 24 - but these are not the only important dates.

France will vote for a new president this year as the end of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year mandate approaches Pic: Regormark / Shutterstock

France will potentially elect a new president this year, unless the voters stick with Emmanuel Macron, who was elected in 2017. 

We outline below key dates relating to the vote and beyond. 

January 1

This is the date when candidates are officially monitored for the amount of time they spend speaking on TV and radio, to ensure coverage is balanced. The monitoring will be carried out by the Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique.

January 30 (at the latest)

In order for a candidate to stand, they must receive the backing of 500 elected representatives. 

These 500 signatures, known as parrainages in French, must come from officials in at least 30 different departments, with no more than a tenth of them from one single department. 

Many potential candidates have already been lobbying elected officials for their vote. 

But elected officials can only officially give their signatures during a specific period that begins after a special decree is published. That should happen at least 10 weeks before the first round of voting, meaning January 30. 

Read more: France’s 2022 presidential election hopefuls race to find 500 backers

March 4

This date marks the end of the period where elected officials can give their signatures (at 18:00). It is also the deadline for the public to register on the electoral roll (online registration closes on March 2). 

March 11 (at the latest)

The official publication of the list of candidates for the election, as drawn up by the constitutional council. 

March 28

Candidates’ official campaigns can begin.

April 8

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).

April 9

End of the official campaign for the first round (broadcasting of election-related messages is prohibited from midnight on April 8).

April 10

First round of voting takes places

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 by this date, and establish which two candidates will stand for the second round (if there is no outright winner in the first round). 

There has been a second round of votes in every election since the current election system was introduced in 1965. 

April 15

Start of the official political campaign for the two candidates competing in the second round

April 23

End of the official campaign for the second round (broadcasting of election-related messages is prohibited from midnight on April 22). Voting ends one day earlier for several overseas territories (mentioned above)

April 24

Second round of voting takes place (this is done the day before for some voters living 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 on this day. This must happen no later than the last day of the outgoing president’s term.

June 24 (at the latest)

The final submission of candidates’ campaign accounts, including income and expenditure. 

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