As regards matters of eligibility, the Constitutional Council is called upon to make rulings after appeal by the administrative tribunals. It only rules on ineligibility to be elected and once this has been ascertained the ruling is absolute. When it is called upon to make such a ruling, the Constitutional Council does so concerning both the candidate and his substitute.
The procedure concerning electoral operations deals with both the balance of campaign funding and the fairness of the holding of the election itself.
As regards the campaign itself, the electoral code is particularly strict since, outside of that which is allowed (sending official documents and postering in authorized places), everything else is prohibited. In concrete terms, the Constitutional Council judges the impact of irregularities on the outcome of the election less according to the abuse of campaigning itself and rather according to the imbalance between the candidates which can result from it.
Since the Constitutional Council deals with the real issues of electoral operations (it judges the actual holding of the election, the opening of the ballot boxes, as well as the count) its remit is very broad. This may lead it, when it notes an irregularity or electoral fraud which may have a significant impact on the election result, to modify the results or even, when necessary, to declare the election void.
The litigation procedure regarding the financing of general elections deals, first of all, with the supervising of the campaign account. The electoral code makes provision for the ineligibility for election for one year of any candidate who has not presented his campaign account according to the conditions and within the limits laid down.
If the judge notes a major error in the presentation, he does not have the power to make a subjective declaration: he must declare the candidate ineligible to be elected. This is the case when there is no such account presented, when it is not received by the préfecture within the two-month limit, if it is not passed by a certified accountant or if the documents pertaining to funding and expenditure are not provided. Jurisprudence is particularly strict in requiring that the campaign account and the corresponding bank account be exhaustive, authentic and correct.
However, the electoral code grants the judge leeway in his declaration if the candidate in question has exceeded the limit for expenditure, since, in this case, the judge is under no obligation to declare the ineligibility for election of the candidate, although he may do so.
Nonetheless, since the ineligibility for election is declared for a year from the day of the judgement, the candidate who has been elected and lost his seat is thus deprived of the possibility of standing again in the by-election which will follow the invalidation of the election.