Short guide to the in-between rounds of regional and departmental elections

Short guide to the in-between rounds of regional and departmental elections
Short guide to the in-between rounds of regional and departmental elections

After the joy or disappointment of the first round, Sunday, June 20, the candidates for the 2021 regional and departmental elections have little time to recover from their emotions. They have until Tuesday, June 22 at 6 p.m. to submit their list for the second round to the prefecture, and will then have a handful of days to campaign before the verdict of the polls, Sunday, June 27.

Regional and departmental elections: follow the reactions and negotiations live for the second round

The film of the last hours of the campaign promises to be breathtaking, but it is not necessarily easy to follow. The possibilities of maintaining or not in the second round of the ballot or even of merging lists are not the same for regional and departmental elections, and the voting methods also differ. Follow the guide.

  • In the regional elections, two days of decisive negotiations

In the previous episode

The voters of the twelve metropolitan regions, to which are added Corsica (which has a special status) and the four overseas communities, voted for the first time on Sunday, June 20. No list having gathered the absolute majority of the votes cast in the first round (50% plus one vote), a second round will take place everywhere on Sunday 27 June. It remains to be seen in whose presence.

What cast for the second round?

The lists which gathered more than 10% of the votes Sunday can be maintained for the second round. This is the case for only two of them in Guadeloupe, but everywhere else at least three lists have crossed this decisive threshold. The prize goes to Ile-de-France, where there could be on paper up to six competitors on Sunday:

This dispersion can have a non-negligible political cost for the lists involved. The list which arrives at the top there in fact automatically receives a quarter of the seats in the regional council; the remainder is distributed among all the lists – including the leading one – in proportion to their result. It is therefore much more advantageous to negotiate political alliances before the submission of candidatures than after the vote. This is why the three left-wing lists in Ile-de-France came to an agreement quickly, to try to dispute the victory with Valérie Pécresse (LR).

The stake between the two rounds is therefore to negotiate alliances, when possible. These can be done with other lists which received more than 10% of the votes, but also include candidates from lists which obtained more than 5% but are not qualified for the second round.

Last possibility: a list qualified for the second round can also withdraw its candidacy without joining a competing list. This choice can, for example, be justified in the name of the republican front against the National Rally, as several socialist candidates had done in 2015 for the benefit of their right-wing rivals.

In the next episode (s)

The stake in the second round of regional elections is often very real, and a few points of difference between two or three candidates can completely change the situation. In particular when there are three candidates (we speak of triangular) or more.

Let us take a fictitious example with three lists in the second round whose scores are close. It is then the formation which arrives at the head which wins the majority in the regional council, thanks to the premium of a quarter of the seats granted to the winner.

This is what happened in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in 2015: the socialist Marie-Guite Dufay won with 34.68% of the vote, just ahead of the candidate Les Républicains François Sauvadet (32.89%) and her rival from the National Front Sophie Montel (32.44%). A small gap but sufficient to have an absolute majority in the regional council.

In other cases, with four or more candidates, it is possible that no single list manages to gather a majority in the regional council, and therefore that negotiations continue. The names of the president and vice-presidents of the region concerned would then not be known until July 2, the day of the first session of the new assembly.

Decryption: Voting system, political issues, areas of competence: how regional elections work
  • In the departmental, abstention tightened the ballot

In the previous episode

Voters voted for the first round of departmental Sunday, June 20 in the 2,028 cantons concerned. The voting method for this election is special, since we vote for a pair made up of a woman and a man in each canton, and the elected candidates will then nominate the president of their department.

One hundred and nineteen pairs were elected in the first round. This number is lower than in 2015 (150) because for this they had to both win the absolute majority of the votes, but also bring together more than 25% of the voters registered on the electoral lists. However, this second condition was difficult to fulfill against a background of massive abstention – 66.7% nationwide.

Curiosity of the ballot, in twenty cantons, only a pair was a candidate. Eighteen of them were elected in the first round, but two of them will have to wait until Sunday to be officially elected, having failed to reach the 25% mark.

Decryption: Departmental elections: duels, only two triangular and absolute “insufficient” majorities due to lack of participation

What cast for the second round?

Here, no list mergers or negotiations. In principle, at least two pairs are qualified for the second round of departmental. But a third list can be maintained, or even a fourth, if each has gathered more than 12.5% ​​of those registered (unlike the regional ones where the bar of 10% corresponds to the votes cast).

When abstention is in the order of 50% at the national level, as in 2015, the lists in third place in the ballot can hope to be maintained if they obtain around 25% of the votes cast. But the window closes when barely a third of the citizens move like Sunday: it would then be necessary for the third pair to have around 30 to 35% of the votes to be maintained.

This arithmetic observation has been verified in the facts: The world only identified two possible triangular for the second round of the 2021 departmental, in the 13e constituency of Mayotte and in the 2e constituency of Tarn-et-Garonne. While there were 327 in 2015, to which was even added a quadrangular. Failing to qualify candidates, the abstainers eliminated a good number of them.

In the next episode (s)

On Sunday, voters will appoint their pair of departmental advisers in the 1,909 cantons remaining to be filled. Two scenarios may arise in the departments at the end of this election:

  • A clear majority is emerging, with, for example, a party that alone crosses the 50% mark;
  • No clear majority appears, with for example a left bloc, a right bloc and a handful of “non-aligned” elected officials. In this case, it will be necessary to wait for the vote for the president of the departmental council during the first session of the new assembly to be fixed.
The explanation: How do departmental elections work?

Adrien Sénécat

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