06:29 GMT +323 September 2019
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    A man choose his ballots before voting in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Lyon, France, April 23, 2017.

    A Look at How France Chooses its Leader

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    French voters take to polling stations across the country to choose the country's new president on Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Under the Constitution of the French Republic, the president is the main guarantor of the country’s national independence, territorial integrity and compliance with international treaties.

    The president is elected by direct vote for a period of five years. One and the same person cannot be elected president for more than two consecutive terms.

    Presidential elections are held not later than 20 days and not earlier than 35 days before the incumbent president’s tenure expires.

    Citizens aged 18 and over have the right to be elected President of the French Republic.

    Any prospective presidential candidate should collect the signatures of at least 500 elective officials supporting his or her nomination. The signatories should represent at least 30 different administrative-territorial entities, with no more than 10 percent of all signatures per entity. The media publishes the official lists of any presidential candidate’s supporters and all signatures should be collected three weeks after the deadline for presidential elections has been announced.

    Presidential candidates should submit declarations on their property status and, if elected, they should pledge to submit a new property status declaration pending the expiry of their term.

    The Constitutional Council oversees the elections at the federal level. Several commissions, including the Commission for Voting Oversight, the Commission for Election Campaigning, the National Counting Commission and the Higher Council for Electronic Media Outlets, monitor nationwide elections in line with their prerogatives.

    The French Interior Ministry is also responsible for organizing elections at the national level.

    Magistrates organizing elections at lower levels as well as mayors and city halls representing the executive branch at grassroots level record any violations of election legislation.

    District election commissions consisting of officials from communes (municipalities) and persons appointed by them monitor the voting process at the lowest election level.

    French citizens aged 18 and over have the right to cast their ballots, provided that they are officially registered voters. People living outside the French Republic and wishing to vote abroad should be included on consular voting lists.

    Voting abroad is held at French diplomatic missions and consular offices. Owing to a time difference, French diplomatic missions and consular offices on the American continent and French Polynesia receive voters on Saturday.

    It is possible to vote by proxy.

    Polling stations are open all over France from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Some municipalities can open polling stations earlier or close them at 8 p.m.

    The President of the French Republic is elected by an absolute majority of votes. If any of the candidates fails to obtain an absolute majority of votes in the first round, then a second election round is held two weeks later, involving two candidates with the maximum number of votes. In this case, the candidate collecting the most votes is elected.

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