Presidential elections (every five years) – a two-round, first-past-the-post system, although a candidate can be successful in the first round should they achieve an absolute majority. Only the two highest-scoring candidates are put forward for a head-to head vote in the second round, held two weeks later.
• Legislative or general elections (every five years) – also a two-round, first-past-the-post system. Candidates must achieve 12.5% of the vote to proceed to the second round, in which the candidate receiving the highest vote takes the constituency seat in the National Assembly.
• Regional elections (every six years) – held to elect members to the regional councils ( assemblées régionales), these elections combine a first-past-the-post and proportional representation system. The public votes for a list of candidates. Should a list win absolute majority, its candidates take the majority of seats and the rest are distributed proportionally between lists achieving at least 5% of the vote. If it goes to a second vote, only lists gaining 10% or more of the vote are included – the winning list then takes a quarter of the seats, and the remaining seats are proportionally distributed to lists taking at least 5% of the vote.
• Municipal elections (every six years) – held to elect the mayor and the municipal council ( conseil municipal). Residents vote for a complete list of candidates, comprising an equal number of men and women. The head of the list is the proposed new mayor; any number of lists can be submitted for the election. In communities with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, individual candidates and incomplete lists can be put forward. The voting system is similar to that of regional elections.
• European elections (held every five years) – the French people vote for France’s MEPs via a single ballot, proportional representation system. Parties or coalitions put together a closed list of candidates with an equal number of men and women, and seats are allocated according to the percentage of votes scored by each list.