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In order to be a candidate in a French presidential election, a person must obtain at least 500 "présentations" or "parrainages" from among tens of thousands of elected representatives, the majority of whom are mayors.

The other two requirements are

  • that these présentations must come from at least 30 areas of the country (departments or overseas collectivities), and

  • that no more than 10% of them may come from the same area.

Let's say that at the time of the last announcement before the final one, a person has présentations as follows:

50 from 1 area
10 from each of 45 areas

So if no further présentations are received, he will have met all three criteria. Whatever happens, he has clearly met the first two criteria.

My question is what happens in respect of the third criterion if he receives one more présentation before the deadline, and it is from the area of the country in which he has already received 50.

In this case, his score would look like this:

51 from 1 area
10 from each of 45 areas

His total is now 501, and 51 exceeds 10% of 501.

Does he meet or fail to meet the third criterion?

You can check the exact wording of the law here:

Loi n° 62-1292 du 6 novembre 1962 relative à l'élection du Président de la République au suffrage universel (Version en vigueur au 08 février 2022).

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No - this scenario is discussed on the constitutional council’s website (from the 2017 Presidential election). The process is that a maximum of fifty parrainages from one département will be considered, and that any others will be discarded.

Les contrôles du nombre de parrainages

Les parrainages doivent émaner d’au moins 500 élus, répartis dans au moins 30 départements ou collectivités d’outre-mer différents, sans que dans un département ou une collectivité on ne dépasse le seuil de 50 signatures (un dixième).

Par exemple : si 80 élus d’un même département parrainent un même candidat de façon parfaitement valide, le Conseil constitutionnel les publiera, mais ne tiendra compte que de 50 d’entre elles, en dépit de la validité des 30 autres, pour parvenir au seuil des 500 signatures requises.

My translation:

Controls on the number of nominations

Nominations must come from at least 500 elected officials, spread over at least 30 different departments or overseas communities, without a department or community exceeding the threshold of 50 signatures (one tenth).

For example: if 80 elected officials from the same department nominate the same candidate in a perfectly valid way, the Constitutional Council will publish them, but will only take into account 50 of them, despite the validity of the 30 others, to arrive at the threshold of 500 nominations required.

In your example, then, only fifty of the nominations from the department with fifty-one nominations would be taken into account, and the candidate would be validly nominated.

For further proof - according to the list of validated nominations published by the constitutional council - in 2017, Jean Lassalle received a total of 708 nominations. Despite 73 of these coming from the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, Lassalle was confirmed to be a valid candidate and appeared on the ballot.

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  • 7
    Many thanks! This is reminiscent of why mathematicians say "I have exactly 3 apples", because saying "I have 3 apples" leaves open the possibility that they have more than 3 apples. So the rule in France is that a person must have 500 présentations distributed among at least 30 areas with no area having more than 50 of those 500, and any that they have in excess of those 500 can be anywhere.
    – user41795
    Feb 8, 2022 at 19:34
  • "In each area you can count a maximum of 50" probably comes to the same thing, but it's easy to appreciate why they didn't frame it like that.
    – user41795
    Feb 8, 2022 at 20:18
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    I'm glad they thought of this. I couldn't imagine the disaster that would be being disqualified for being MORE popular!
    – corsiKa
    Feb 9, 2022 at 20:26
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    This can be reconciled with the original wording “not more than 10%” by understanding that as “10% of the necessary 500” rather than “10% of the canididate’s présentations” Feb 9, 2022 at 23:40

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