Holding or Postponing Elections During a COVID-19 Outbreak: Constitutional, Legal and Political Challenges in France   [open pdf - 536KB]

From the Document: "According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), as of 11 June 2020 at least 66 countries and territories across the globe had decided to postpone national or subnational elections due to COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019], whereas at least 33 had decided to hold elections as originally planned. The French case, however, is very unusual. Municipal elections, which in France involve two-round elections, were not entirely held, and not entirely postponed either. This unique situation raised issues connected with election management in the COVID-19 context concerning (a) the choice to hold or postpone the elections; and (b) the means available to adapt voting procedures during a pandemic crisis. This case study will first present the institutional and political context of municipal elections in France. It will then discuss the series of decisions, first to hold the local elections; then to postpone the second round; and finally to organize the second round for 28 June 2020. Each of these situations will be analysed in terms of the relevant political, legal (international standards as well as French law), public health and electoral management considerations. The French case demonstrates the difficulty of navigating legal constraints and political imperatives during times of uncertainty. It also shows that international standards such as the search for political consensus, the stability of electoral law, and the early adaptation of voting procedures are important in resolving difficulties with organizing elections in these troubled COVID-19 times."

2020 International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/]
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International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: https://www.idea.int/
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