► The election, explanation
1 – Who can be a candidate?
To be able to be a candidate in the presidential election, you must be at least 18 years old and be French. It is also necessary to collect at least 500 signatures from elected officials (mayors, deputies, senators, etc.). This makes it possible to avoid applications that are not serious.
2 – A two-round election
During the first round, scheduled for Sunday April 10, we vote for one of the 12 candidates. If one of them collects more than 50% of the votes from this first vote, he is elected president (this has never happened before). Otherwise, the two people who have collected the most votes are qualified for the second round, scheduled for April 24.
The two remaining candidates continue to defend their program: what they will do if they win. On the evening of the second round, the candidate who has obtained the greatest number of votes wins the election.
3 – Four women and eight men on the starting line
Twelve men and women are candidates for this 2022 presidential election: Nathalie Arthaud (Worker’s struggle), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout France), Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party), Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecology-The Greens), Jean Lassalle (Resist! ), Marine Le Pen (National Rally), Emmanuel Macron (La République en Marche), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise), Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains), Philippe Poutou (New Anti-Capitalist Party), Fabien Roussel (French Communist Party ) and Éric Zemmour (Reconquest!)
4 – Those who prefer not to vote
In France, voting is not compulsory. You can “abstain”, that is to say not vote. We can also go and vote and put a “white ballot” in the ballot box without a name on it, if we don’t like anyone. In any case, it’s a shame not to give his opinion. In the world, many peoples are fighting to one day be able to vote freely and live in a democracy.
The profession of president
The President of the Republic is the Head of State. The French choose him to make very important decisions for the country. He must be able to work a lot while remaining calm, even in complicated situations!
His role is to make the country work well. Big program! He chooses the prime minister and, more often than not, decides with him who will be minister of education, health, ecology… It is this whole team that will govern France.
1 – He is the chief of the armies.
He can decide to send soldiers abroad, for example to help a friendly country or to fight terrorists. In the event of an attack, the President could use nuclear weapons (the atomic bomb). Luckily, that never happened!
2 – Where does he live?
In France, the President’s official residence is the Élysée Palace in Paris. There are apartments, kitchens, a library, a cinema… and lots of offices. The President works there with his collaborators and receives his guests there.
3 – Why is he always in costume?
By wearing a classic outfit, the President seeks to give a serious image of France, to inspire respect and to mark his authority. But in the evening, he has the right to walk around in his pajamas in the Élysée!
4 – How much does he earn?
The President is paid by the State, therefore with French taxes. He earns 15,000 euros per month. This is much more than the average French, and much less than the highest paid French.
5 – What if the President is sick or dies?
In these cases, the president of the Senate (one of the two large assemblies which represent the French people) replaces him. But just enough time to organize a new presidential election!
6 – President or president?
In France, there has never been a President of the Republic! Today, only about 20 women lead countries, while there are almost 200 states in the world.
The election in questions (of children)
1 – Why do we vote to choose the president?
France is a democracy: that means that it is the people who decide. Each citizen has one vote to choose the president, the deputies, the mayors… Elected officials must respect the laws which organize the country: it is the Constitution. Even if it is not perfect, the situation of France is preferable to that of other countries whose leaders do what they want without control of the people.
2 – Why don’t we have a king?
In France, there have been kings for centuries. But the revolution of 1789 and then other revolts drove out the kings. Today, there is a president elected by the people. Some of our neighbours, like the Belgians, the English or the Spaniards, still have a king. But it is the government, appointed by the president, which makes the important decisions for the country.
3 – How do we avoid cheating?
In each polling station, there are people from different parties. They thus check that the voters are not being influenced and that all the rules are respected.
4 – Can a candidate say that he is going to do something and not do it?
Yes, it happens! Presidents do not necessarily do everything they promise. Sometimes they change their minds. Either they see that their promises were impossible to keep… or that it upsets too many people! The role of voters, but also of journalists, is to be attentive to what elected officials do and to what they keep their promises.
5 – Why one is not president all his life?
If a president remains in power too long, he risks taking the opportunity to do whatever he wants and become a dictator. In France, you cannot be president more than twice in a row, so ten years in a row. Until 2002, people voted for the president every seven years. But this period has been reduced to five years so that people can say more often whether or not they trust their president.
6 – Why are all presidents boys?
The president could very well be… a president. For the moment, this has never happened in France. But many other countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom or India, have or have had a woman at their head.
→ FIND the results of the 2022 presidential election, city by city, as soon as they are officially published
The special file “president” of “Astrapi”
In its March 15 issue, Astrapi book for young readers (7-11 years old) “all the secrets of the job of president”. In a file of about ten pages, of which we reproduce two here, we discover the missions of the Head of State, his busy schedule, the key stages of the election…
You can also read an interview with Emmanuel Macron on his life and work as president. This fortnightly published by Bayard, publisher of The cross, also features a large detachable board game. The objective is none other than to win the “race to the Élysée” with dice and cards to draw: we stammer horribly on TV in front of all of France, we have to move back two squares; we arrive by bike at a congress on ecology, we advance three…