Decision

Decision no. 2020-849 QPC of 17 June 2020

Daniel D. and others [Changes to municipal election dates]

On 26 May 2020, the Constitutional Council, in the conditions provided for by Article 61-1 of the Constitution, received an application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality raised by the Conseil d'État (decision no. 440217 of 25 May 2020). This application was made on behalf of Daniel D. and others by Céline Alinot, Attorney at the Nice Bar. It was registered by the general secretariat of the Constitutional Council under no. 2020-849 QPC. It relates to the conformity with rights and freedoms that the Constitution guarantees in paragraphs I, III, and IV of Article 19 of Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 on emergency measures for responding to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Having regard to the following texts:

  • the Constitution;
  • Ordinance No. 58-1067 of 7 November 1958, constituting an institutional act on the Constitutional Council;
  • the Electoral Code;
  • the Public Health Code;
  • Institutional Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 on emergency measures for responding to the Covid-19 epidemic;
  • Ordinance No. 2020-390 of 1 April 2020 relating to postponing the second round of general elections of municipal and community councillors, Paris councillors and Lyon metropolitan councillors for 2020 and for setting up public aid for 2021;
  • Decree No. 2019-928 of 4 September 2019 setting the date for election of municipal and community councillors, Paris councillors, and Lyon metropolitan councillors, and calling on voters to participate in the elections;
  • Decree No. 2020-267 of 17 March 2020 postponing the second round of elections of municipal and community councillors, Paris councillors, and Lyon metropolitan councillors, initially planned for 22 March 2020 by Decree No. 2019-928 of 4 September 2019;
  • the Regulation of 4 February 2010 on the procedure applicable before the Constitutional Council with respect to applications for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality;
    Having regard to the following documents:
  • the observations on behalf of the applicants by Céline Alinot, registered on 28 May 2020;
  • the observations of intervenors by Jean-Louis M., registered on the same date;
  • the observations of intervenors on behalf of Béatrice D. and others by Étienne Tête, Attorney at the Lyon Bar, registered on 2 June 2020;
  • the observations of intervenors on behalf of Françoise G. by Sébastien Plunian, Attorney at the Valence Bar, registered on the same date;
  • the observations of intervenors on behalf of Jean-Claude B. by Sarah Margaroli, Attorney at the Paris Bar, registered on 3 June 2020;
  • the observations of intervenors on behalf of Pierre-Yves M. by Sarah Margaroli, registered on the same date;
  • the observations of intervenors on behalf of Pierre S. by Arié Alimi, Attorney at the Paris Bar, registered on the same date;
  • the observations of the Prime Minister, registered on the same date;
  • the second observations of intervenors by Jean-Louis M., registered on 5 June 2020;
  • the second observations on behalf of the applicants by Céline Alinot, registered on 8 June 2020;
  • the second observations of intervenors on behalf of Béatrice D. and others by Étienne Tête, registered on the same date;
  • the second observations of intervenors on behalf of Jean-Claude B. and Pierre-Yves M. by Sarah Margaroli, registered on 10 June 2020;
  • the second observations of the Prime Minister, registered on the same date;
  • the additional documents produced and appended to the case files;
    After having heard Céline Alinot on behalf of the applicants, Philippe Prigent, Attorney at the Paris Bar, on behalf of Jean-Louis M., Sarah Margaroli on behalf of Jean-Claude B. and Pierre-Yves M., Arié Alimi on behalf of Pierre S., and Philippe Blanc, appointed by the Prime Minister, at the public hearing of 15 June 2020;
    And after having heard the rapporteur;
    THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL DECIDED THAT:
  1. The application for a priority preliminary ruling on constitutionality must be considered as relating to the provisions applicable to the legal dispute at the moment in which the application was made. Consequently, the Constitutional Council has received a referral on Article 19 of the aforementioned Act of 23 March 2020 in its initial formulation.
  2. Paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020, in this formulation, provides that:
    “When, following a first round organised for 15 March 2020 for the election of municipal and community councillors, Paris councillors, and Lyon metropolitan councillors, a second round of elections is necessary to assign the seats that were not filled, this second round, initially scheduled for 22 March 2020, is postponed to June 2020 at the latest, due to the exceptional circumstances linked to the need to protect the population due to the Covid-19 epidemic. This date is set by decree in the Council of Ministers, decided on Wednesday 27 May 2020 at the latest if the public health conditions allow for the organisation of the electoral process, according to the analysis of the committee of scientific experts set up based on Article L. 3131-19 of the Public Health Code.
    “The declarations as candidates for this second round are submitted at the latest on the Tuesday that follows the publication of the decree to hold an election.
    “If the public health conditions do not allow for organising the second round at the latest during the month of June 2020, the term of the municipal and community councillors, arrondissement councillors, Paris councillors, and metropolitan councillors concerned is extended for a time period set by law. Voters are summoned by decree for the two rounds of voting, that take place within the thirty days that precede the end of the terms so extended. The law also determines the methods of taking office for municipal councillors successfully elected in the first round in municipalities with populations of under 1,000 for which the municipal council was not fully elected.
    “In all cases, the regular election of municipal and community councillors, arrondissement councillors, Paris councillors, and Lyon metropolitan councillors elected in the first round that took place on 15 March 2020 remains unchanged, as provided for in Article 3 of the Constitution.”
  3. Paragraph III of this same article, in this same formulation, provides that:
    “The municipal and community councillors elected successfully in the first round of elections that takes place on 15 March 2020 take office on a date set by decree at the latest in the month of June 2020, as soon as public health conditions allow, according to the analysis carried out by the committee of scientific experts. The first meeting of the municipal council is held as of right at the earliest five days and at the latest ten days after taking office.
    “By derogation, in municipalities with populations of less than 1,000 for which the municipal council was not fully successfully elected, the municipal councillors successfully elected in the first round take office on the day following the second round of the election or, if this second round does not take place, according to the conditions provided for by law mentioned in the third section of paragraph I of this article.
    “By derogation, the arrondissement councillors and Paris councillors successfully elected in the first round take office on the day following the second round of the election or, if the second round does not take place, according to the conditions provided for by law mentioned in that same third section.”
  4. Paragraph IV of this same article, in this same formulation, provides that:
    “By derogation of Article L. 227 of the Electoral Code:
    “1° In municipalities where the municipal council was successfully elected in its entirety, the municipal councillors in office prior to the first round retain their term of office until the municipal councillors that were successfully elected in the first round take office. If applicable, their term as community councillor is also extended to that same date.
    “2° In municipalities, other than those mentioned in 3° of this IV, for which the municipal council was not successfully elected in its entirety, the municipal councillors in office prior to the first round maintain their office until the second round. If applicable, their office of community councillor is also extended until the second round, subject to 3 of VII;
    “3° In sectors of municipalities mentioned in Chapter IV of Title IV of Book I of the Electoral Code, the arrondissement councillors, municipal councillors, and, in Paris, Paris councillors in office prior to the first round maintain their office until the second round. If applicable, their office of community councillor is also extended until the second round, subject to 3 of VII of this article;
    “By derogation of Article L. 224-1 of the Electoral Code, the term of office of Lyon metropolitan councillors in office prior to the first round is extended until the second round.
    “Delegations granted to elected officials whose term of office is extended, or any deliberations, shall not lapse for that reason alone.”
  5. Firstly, the applicants are critical of these provisions, adopted after the first round of municipal elections, which were held on 15 March 2020, to postpone the second round to an undetermined date, to possibly be set up to the end of the month of June by the regulatory power. According to them, on the one hand, the legislator could not interrupt an electoral process that is under way, and therefore should have disqualified the results of the vote of 15 March 2020 in order to organise new municipal elections. On the other hand, while the two-round election process forms an inseparable unit, these provisions allow the second round to take place more than three months after the first round, which would constitute an excessive delay. Lastly, by providing for holding this second round during the public health crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the legislator creates conditions for a high rate of voter abstention. This would result in a violation of the principle of honesty in elections and the principle of equality before suffrage.
  6. Secondly, the applicants contend that the referred provisions would have the effect of validating the results of the first round of municipal elections, without consideration of the disputes in progress before the electoral court. This would result in a violation of the separation of powers and the guarantee of rights.
  7. Lastly, the applicants are critical of these provisions for setting dates for taking office and terms of office for the municipal councillors that are different according to whether they were elected in the first round or if they will be elected after the postponed second round. This would result in a violation of the principle of equality before suffrage.
  8. Consequently, the application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality is related to the first and last sections of paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020.
  9. The intervenors supporting the application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality submit objections that are similar to those submitted by the applicants. Moreover, according to one of the intervenors, by providing for a second round in June 2020, while the epidemic is not completely under control, the disputed provisions would cause a “forced and programmed abstention”, therefore violating the right to vote and honesty in elections. Additionally, by favouring departing elected officials, and by highly restricting the electoral campaign conditions for candidates, these provisions would cause a break in equality before suffrage and would violate the principle of honesty in elections.
  10. Another intervenor is critical of the disputed provisions in that they would endorse the results of the first round, including in municipalities in which the municipal council was successfully elected in its entirety. This would result in a violation of the principle of honesty in elections and the principle of equality before suffrage, in that this election, organised during the Covid-19 epidemic, caused a high rate of voter abstention. Moreover, validating the results of the first round would unconstitutionally infringe on the right to effective legal protection.
  • Concerning certain intervenors:
  1. According to the second section of Article 6 of the aforementioned Internal Regulation of 4 February 2010, only persons that demonstrate a “special interest” are permitted to intervene.
  2. The applicants conclude that the requests of some intervenors, Béatrice D. and others, Françoise G., Pierre-Yves M. and Jean-Claude B., are inadmissible. They contend that these persons do not demonstrate a special interest to intervene, in that they are tied to other disputes in progress, and that their interventions serve to support the conformity of the disputed provisions with the Constitution.
  3. However, these four requests for intervention are presented by persons that were elected during the first round of municipal elections held on 15 March 2020. They are defendants in electoral disputes presented before the administrative court, at which time the author of these disputes submitted an application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality concerning all or part of the disputed provisions in this present application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality. Consequently, they do have a special interest to intervene. The conclusions in terms of inadmissibility of these interventions must therefore be dismissed.
  • On the conclusions for a discharge order:
  1. One of the intervenors maintains that it would not be necessary for the Constitutional Council to rule on the conformity of the disputed provisions with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, in that those rights and freedoms will be modified or replaced by new provisions, coming from a draft law submitted to the National Assembly on 27 May 2020, which could apply to the disputes in progress before the electoral court.
  2. However, even assuming that this draft law could have such consequences, in any case, the modification or future repeal of the disputed provision does not remove the possible infringement on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and therefore does not remove its usefulness in the application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality. The conclusions in terms of a discharge order must therefore be dismissed.
  • In substance:
    . Concerning the first section of paragraph I of Article 19:
  • For the postponement of the second round of municipal elections:
  1. According to the third section of Article 3 of the Constitution, suffrage “shall always be universal, equal and secret”. It is from this that the principle of honesty in elections is derived.
  2. According to Article 6 of the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of 1789, the law “must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes”. The principle of equality before suffrage follows from this provision and from the third section of Article 3 of the Constitution.
  3. The legislator, in application of Article 34 of the Constitution, who is competent to determine the rules concerning the electoral system of local assemblies, can therefore determine the term of office of elected officials that make up the deliberating body of a regional or local authority. However, in exercising this power, the legislator must comply with constitutional principles, which involves ensuring that the voters are called to exercise their right to vote, guaranteed by Article 3 of the Constitution, on a reasonably regular basis.
  4. In application of Article L. 227 of the Electoral Code, the aforementioned Decree of 4 September 2019 set the date of 15 March 2020 for the first round of voting for municipal elections. As provided for in Article L. 56 of the same code, according to which, in the event of a second round of voting, said round occurs on the Sunday following the first round; Article 6 of the same decree set the date of 22 March 2020 for the second round. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the aforementioned Decree of 17 March 2020 repealed this Article 6.
  5. According to the first section of paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020, due to exceptional circumstances related to the Covid-19 epidemic, the second round of municipal elections initially set for 22 March 2020 takes place later in June 2020, on the condition that the public health conditions permit the organisation of the electoral process. If this condition was not met, the third section of the same paragraph I provides that the voters in the municipalities for which the municipal council was not elected in its entirety in the first round would be called to vote again in two rounds of voting, under conditions to be defined by a new law. In one and the other of these hypothetical cases, under the terms of the last section of the same paragraph, the regular election of municipal councillors successfully elected in the first round that took place on 15 March 2020 remains effective.
  6. Therefore, the disputed provisions suspend the electoral process after the completion of the first round and postpone the organisation of the second round. If they call into question the unity of carrying out the electoral process, they allow, contrary to cancelling the first round, the preservation of the voting carried out in that round. However, without violating the requirements resulting from Article 3 of the Constitution, the legislator can only authorise such a modification of the electoral process on condition that it is justified by an overriding reason of general interest and that, by the methods it has adopted, it does not result in a violation of the right to vote, the principle of honesty in elections, or the principle of equality before suffrage.
  7. On the one hand, the legislator adopting the disputed provisions demonstrated their will to avoid holding the second round of elections initially planned for 22 March 2020, and the electoral campaign that would precede it. This effort sought to contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, even though the choice had been made to maintain the first round of voting before the legislator intervened, in a public health context that brought about lockdown measures for the population. These provisions are therefore justified by an overriding reason of general interest.
  8. On the other hand, firstly, the legislator provided for the second round of municipal elections to occur at the latest in the month of June 2020. The maximum delay thus set for holding the second round of elections was, when it was adopted, adapted to the severity of the public health conditions and the uncertainty surrounding provisions for the progress of the epidemic.
  9. Secondly, the legislator required that the regulatory power set the date of this second round, by decree in the meeting of the Council of Ministers, decided on 27 May 2020 at the latest. The legislator subjected this decision to the requirement that the public health conditions would allow the second round, in consideration of the analysis of the committee of scientific experts provided for in Article L. 3131-19 of the Public Health Code.
  10. Thirdly, the applicants and certain intervenors state that, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the organisation of the second round prior to the end of June 2020 runs the risk of impacting voter participation, as this election could only take place if the public health conditions allowed for it. Consequently, the disputed provisions do not by themselves favour abstention. If applicable, it is up to the electoral court, having received a referral for such an objection, to determine if the level of abstention was susceptible, under the circumstances of the case, to altering the honesty of the election.
  11. Lastly, several measures of adaptation of electoral law contribute to ensuring, despite the delay separating the two rounds of elections, the continuity of the electoral process, equality between candidates during the campaign, and the honesty of the election. Specifically, in order to preserve the unity of the electoral body between the two rounds, the aforementioned Ordinance of 1 April 2020 provides that, excluding exceptions, the second round of elections initially planned for 22 March 2020 will be held using the electoral registers and supplementary electoral registers set by the first round.
  12. Moreover, 6° and 7° of paragraph XII of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020, allow for, by derogation of the Electoral Code, increasing the ceilings of applicable electoral expenses and obtaining reimbursement of part of the publicity expenses brought about by the second round of elections initially planned for 22 March 2020. These dispositions contribute to guaranteeing the respect of equality between the candidates during the electoral campaign.
  13. Lastly, in order to preserve the opportunities to appeal the results of the first round despite the suspension of the election, the voters were able, via derogation of the third section of Article L. 68 of the Electoral Code, to obtain the electoral registers of the polling locations starting at the moment that the decree calling for the election went into effect for the second round, and until the expiration of the delay to make an appeal of the election results.
  14. It follows from the foregoing that postponing the second round of the municipal elections to at the latest in June 2020 does not violate the right to vote, nor the principle of honesty in elections, nor the principle of equality before suffrage.
  • Concerning the consequences of postponing the second round on the terms of office of municipal councillors and on the appeals of the election results:
  1. On the one hand, if the disputed provisions result in a difference of the term of office between the municipal councillors successfully elected in the first round and those elected after the second round organised at the latest in June 2020, this difference in treatment results from a difference of circumstances concerning the election and responds directly to the legislator's will to ensure the implementation of the objectives they set by postponing the second round.
  2. On the other hand, for municipalities where a second round is necessary, the disputed provisions have no impact on the possible appeals presented to the electoral court for the electoral process of the first round. Therefore they do not violate the separation of powers or the right to effective legal protection guaranteed by Article 16 of the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of 1789.
  3. It follows from the foregoing that the first section of paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020 does not violate the right to vote, nor does it violate the principle of honesty of elections, the principle of equality before suffrage, or the requirements of Article 16 of the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of 1789. This section, which does not violate any other right or freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, must be declared as conforming to the Constitution.
    . Concerning the last section of paragraph I of Article 19:
  4. The last section of paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020 is limited by the precision that neither the postponement of the second round to at the latest in June 2020, nor possibly holding two new rounds of elections after this date have an impact on the terms of office put in place through successful elections as of the first round held on 15 March 2020. These provisions therefore have neither the intention nor the effect of retroactively validating electoral processes of the first round that led to terms of office being established. Consequently, they do not impede these processes being subject to appeal before the electoral court.
  5. Consequently, the objections made for the violation of the requirements of Article 16 of the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of 1789, and the principle of the honesty of elections and the principle of equality before suffrage must be dismissed.
  6. Consequently, the last section of paragraph I of Article 19 of the Act of 23 March 2020, which does not violate any other right or freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, must be declared as conforming to the Constitution.
    THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL DECIDES:
    Article 1. - The first and last sections of paragraph I of Article 19 of Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 on emergency measures for responding to the Covid-19 epidemic, in their initial formulations, conform to the Constitution.
    Article 2. - This decision will be published in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic and notified in the manner provided for in Article 23-11 of the aforementioned Ordinance of 7 November 1958.
    Ruled by the Constitutional Council in its 17 June 2020 session, with the following members present: Laurent FABIUS, President, Claire BAZY MALAURIE, Alain JUPPÉ, Dominique LOTTIN, Corinne LUQUIENS, Jacques MÉZARD, François PILLET and Michel PINAULT.
    Published on 17 June 2020.

Les abstracts

  • 3. NORMES LÉGISLATIVES ET RÉGLEMENTAIRES
  • 3.7. RÉPARTITION DES COMPÉTENCES PAR MATIÈRES
  • 3.7.1. Garanties des libertés publiques
  • 3.7.1.1. Droit de suffrage et droits civiques

Le législateur, compétent en application de l'article 34 de la Constitution pour fixer les règles concernant le régime électoral des assemblées locales, peut, à ce titre, déterminer la durée du mandat des élus qui composent l'organe délibérant d'une collectivité territoriale.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 18, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 4. DROITS ET LIBERTÉS
  • 4.1. NOTION DE " DROITS ET LIBERTÉS QUE LA CONSTITUTION GARANTIT " (art. 61-1)
  • 4.1.4. Constitution du 4 octobre 1958
  • 4.1.4.10. Article 3

Le principe selon lequel les électeurs doivent être appelés à exercer leur droit de suffrage, garanti par l'article 3 de la Constitution, est au nombre des droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit au sens de l'article 61-1 de la Constitution (solution implicite).

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 18, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 4. DROITS ET LIBERTÉS
  • 4.2. PRINCIPES GÉNÉRAUX APPLICABLES AUX DROITS ET LIBERTÉS CONSTITUTIONNELLEMENT GARANTIS
  • 4.2.2. Garantie des droits
  • 4.2.2.3. Droit au recours
  • 4.2.2.3.2. Procédure administrative

Les dispositions contestées se bornent à préciser que ni le report du second tour des élections municipales au plus tard en juin 2020 ni l'éventuelle organisation de deux nouveaux tours de scrutin après cette date n'ont de conséquence sur les mandats régulièrement acquis dès le premier tour organisé le 15 mars 2020. Ces dispositions n'ont ainsi ni pour objet ni pour effet de valider rétroactivement les opérations électorales du premier tour ayant donné lieu à l'attribution de sièges. Dès lors, elles ne font pas obstacle à ce que ces opérations soient contestées devant le juge de l'élection. Rejet du grief tiré de la méconnaissance des exigences de l'article 16 de la Déclaration de 1789.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 33, 34, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 4. DROITS ET LIBERTÉS
  • 4.2. PRINCIPES GÉNÉRAUX APPLICABLES AUX DROITS ET LIBERTÉS CONSTITUTIONNELLEMENT GARANTIS
  • 4.2.2. Garantie des droits
  • 4.2.2.6. Séparation des pouvoirs

Les dispositions contestées n'ont aucune incidence sur les éventuelles contestations devant le juge de l'élection des opérations électorales du premier tour des élections municipales. Elles ne portent donc pas d'atteinte à la séparation des pouvoirs garantie par l'article 16 de la Déclaration de 1789.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 31, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 8. ÉLECTIONS
  • 8.1. PRINCIPES DU DROIT ÉLECTORAL
  • 8.1.1. Droits et libertés de l'électeur
  • 8.1.1.3. Exercice du droit de suffrage
  • 8.1.1.3.1. Fréquence de l'exercice du droit de suffrage
  • 8.1.1.3.1.1. Périodicité raisonnable

Les dispositions contestées suspendent les opérations électorales postérieurement à la tenue du premier tour et reportent l'organisation du second tour. Si elles remettent en cause l'unité de déroulement des opérations électorales, elles permettent, contrairement à une annulation du premier tour, de préserver l'expression du suffrage lors de celui-ci. Toutefois, le législateur ne saurait, sans méconnaître les exigences résultant de l'article 3 de la Constitution, autoriser une telle modification du déroulement des opérations électorales qu'à la condition qu'elle soit justifiée par un motif impérieux d'intérêt général et que, par les modalités qu'il a retenues, il n'en résulte pas une méconnaissance du droit de suffrage, du principe de sincérité du scrutin ou de l'égalité devant le suffrage.
D'une part, en adoptant les dispositions contestées, alors que le choix avait été fait, avant qu'il n'intervienne, de maintenir le premier tour de scrutin, le législateur a entendu éviter que la tenue du deuxième tour de scrutin initialement prévu le 22 mars 2020 et la campagne électorale qui devait le précéder ne contribuent à la propagation de l'épidémie de covid-19, dans un contexte sanitaire ayant donné lieu à des mesures de confinement de la population. Ces dispositions sont donc justifiées par un motif impérieux d'intérêt général.
D'autre part, en premier lieu, le législateur a prévu que le second tour des élections municipales aurait lieu au plus tard au mois de juin 2020. Le délai maximal ainsi fixé pour la tenue du second tour était, lors de son adoption, adapté à la gravité de la situation sanitaire et à l'incertitude entourant l'évolution de l'épidémie.
En deuxième lieu, le législateur a imposé au pouvoir réglementaire de fixer la date de ce second tour, par décret en conseil des ministres pris le 27 mai 2020 au plus tard. Il a subordonné cette fixation à la condition que la situation sanitaire le permette, compte tenu notamment de l'analyse du comité de scientifiques prévu à l'article L. 3131-19 du code de la santé publique.
En troisième lieu, si les requérants et certains intervenants font valoir que, en raison de l'épidémie de covid-19, l'organisation du second tour avant la fin du mois de juin 2020 risque de nuire à la participation des électeurs, ce scrutin ne peut se tenir que si la situation sanitaire le permet. Dès lors, les dispositions contestées ne favorisent pas par elles-mêmes l'abstention. Il appartiendra, le cas échéant, au juge de l'élection, saisi d'un tel grief, d'apprécier si le niveau de l'abstention a pu ou non altérer, dans les circonstances de l'espèce, la sincérité du scrutin.
En dernier lieu, plusieurs mesures d'adaptation du droit électoral contribuent à assurer, malgré le délai séparant les deux tours de scrutin, la continuité des opérations électorales, l'égalité entre les candidats au cours de la campagne et la sincérité du scrutin. En particulier, afin de préserver l'unité du corps électoral entre les deux tours, l'ordonnance du 1er avril 2020 dispose que, sauf exceptions, le second tour du scrutin initialement fixé au 22 mars 2020 aura lieu à partir des listes électorales et des listes électorales complémentaires établies pour le premier tour. En outre, les 6° et 7° du paragraphe XII de l'article 19 de la loi du 23 mars 2020 permettent, par dérogation au code électoral, de majorer par décret les plafonds de dépenses électorales applicables et d'obtenir le remboursement d'une partie des dépenses de propagande ayant été engagées pour le second tour initialement prévu le 22 mars 2020. Ces dispositions concourent à garantir le respect de l'égalité entre les candidats au cours de la campagne électorale. Enfin, afin de préserver les possibilités de contester les résultats du premier tour en dépit de la suspension du scrutin, les électeurs ont pu, par dérogation au troisième alinéa de l'article L. 68 du code électoral, obtenir communication des listes d'émargement des bureaux de vote à compter de l'entrée en vigueur du décret de convocation pour le second tour et jusqu'à l'expiration du délai de recours contentieux.
Il résulte de ce qui précède que le report du second tour des élections municipales au plus tard en juin 2020 ne méconnaît ni le droit de suffrage, ni le principe de sincérité du scrutin, ni celui d'égalité devant le suffrage.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 8. ÉLECTIONS
  • 8.1. PRINCIPES DU DROIT ÉLECTORAL
  • 8.1.2. Droits et libertés du candidat
  • 8.1.2.2. Égalité
  • 8.1.2.2.1. Égalité hors propagande

Les dispositions contestées se bornent à préciser que ni le report du second tour des élections municipales au plus tard en juin 2020 ni l'éventuelle organisation de deux nouveaux tours de scrutin après cette date n'ont de conséquence sur les mandats régulièrement acquis dès le premier tour organisé le 15 mars 2020. Ces dispositions n'ont ainsi ni pour objet ni pour effet de valider rétroactivement les opérations électorales du premier tour ayant donné lieu à l'attribution de sièges. Dès lors, elles ne font pas obstacle à ce que ces opérations soient contestées devant le juge de l'élection. Rejet du grief tiré de la méconnaissance du principe d'égalité devant le suffrage.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 33, 34, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 8. ÉLECTIONS
  • 8.1. PRINCIPES DU DROIT ÉLECTORAL
  • 8.1.5. Sincérité, loyauté et dignité du scrutin
  • 8.1.5.2. Applications du principe de sincérité du scrutin
  • 8.1.5.2.5. Autres applications du principe de sincérité du scrutin

Les dispositions contestées se bornent à préciser que ni le report du second tour des élections municipales au plus tard en juin 2020 ni l'éventuelle organisation de deux nouveaux tours de scrutin après cette date n'ont de conséquence sur les mandats régulièrement acquis dès le premier tour organisé le 15 mars 2020. Ces dispositions n'ont ainsi ni pour objet ni pour effet de valider rétroactivement les opérations électorales du premier tour ayant donné lieu à l'attribution de sièges. Dès lors, elles ne font pas obstacle à ce que ces opérations soient contestées devant le juge de l'élection. Rejet du grief tiré de la méconnaissance du principe de sincérité du scrutin.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 33, 34, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 11. CONSEIL CONSTITUTIONNEL ET CONTENTIEUX DES NORMES
  • 11.6. QUESTION PRIORITAIRE DE CONSTITUTIONNALITÉ
  • 11.6.2. Critères de transmission ou de renvoi de la question au Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.2.2. Applicable au litige ou à la procédure ou fondement des poursuites

Si un intervenant soutient qu'il n'y aurait pas lieu pour le Conseil constitutionnel de statuer sur la conformité des dispositions contestées aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit, dans la mesure où celles-ci seront prochainement modifiées ou remplacées par des dispositions nouvelles, résultant d'un projet de loi en cours de discussion, qui pourraient s'appliquer aux instances en cours devant le juge de l'élection, le Conseil juge que, à supposer même que ce projet de loi puisse avoir de telles conséquences, en tout état de cause, la modification ou l'abrogation ultérieure de la disposition contestée ne fait pas disparaître l'atteinte éventuelle aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit et n'ôte donc pas son effet utile à la question prioritaire de constitutionnalité. Rejet des conclusions aux fins de non-lieu.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 14, 15, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 11. CONSEIL CONSTITUTIONNEL ET CONTENTIEUX DES NORMES
  • 11.6. QUESTION PRIORITAIRE DE CONSTITUTIONNALITÉ
  • 11.6.3. Procédure applicable devant le Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.3.1. Observations en intervention

Saisi de conclusions tendant à l'irrecevabilité de demandes d'intervention, le Conseil constitutionnel juge que ces demandes sont présentées par des personnes ayant été élues lors du premier tour des élections municipales organisé le 15 mars 2020, qui sont parties en défense de contestations électorales déposées devant le tribunal administratif, à l'occasion desquelles l'auteur de ces contestations a déposé une question prioritaire de constitutionnalité portant sur tout ou partie des dispositions contestées dans la question prioritaire de constitutionnalité soumise au Conseil. Par conséquent, ces personnes disposent d'un intérêt spécial à intervenir. Rejet des conclusions aux fins d'irrecevabilité.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 11, 12, 13, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 11. CONSEIL CONSTITUTIONNEL ET CONTENTIEUX DES NORMES
  • 11.6. QUESTION PRIORITAIRE DE CONSTITUTIONNALITÉ
  • 11.6.3. Procédure applicable devant le Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.3.5. Détermination de la disposition soumise au Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.3.5.1. Délimitation plus étroite de la disposition législative soumise au Conseil constitutionnel

Le Conseil constitutionnel juge que la question prioritaire de constitutionnalité porte sur un champ plus restreint que la disposition renvoyée.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 8, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 11. CONSEIL CONSTITUTIONNEL ET CONTENTIEUX DES NORMES
  • 11.6. QUESTION PRIORITAIRE DE CONSTITUTIONNALITÉ
  • 11.6.3. Procédure applicable devant le Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.3.5. Détermination de la disposition soumise au Conseil constitutionnel
  • 11.6.3.5.2. Détermination de la version de la disposition législative soumise au Conseil constitutionnel

La question prioritaire de constitutionnalité doit être considérée comme portant sur les dispositions applicables au litige à l'occasion duquel elle a été posée. La rédaction de la disposition renvoyée n'ayant pas été déterminée, le Conseil constitutionnel y procède en déterminant la rédaction applicable au litige.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
  • 11. CONSEIL CONSTITUTIONNEL ET CONTENTIEUX DES NORMES
  • 11.6. QUESTION PRIORITAIRE DE CONSTITUTIONNALITÉ
  • 11.6.5. Sens et portée de la décision
  • 11.6.5.1. Non-lieu à statuer

Si un intervenant soutient qu'il n'y aurait pas lieu pour le Conseil constitutionnel de statuer sur la conformité des dispositions contestées aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit, dans la mesure où celles-ci seront prochainement modifiées ou remplacées par des dispositions nouvelles, résultant d'un projet de loi en cours de discussion, qui pourraient s'appliquer aux instances en cours devant le juge de l'élection, le Conseil juge que, à supposer même que ce projet de loi puisse avoir de telles conséquences, en tout état de cause, la modification ou l'abrogation ultérieure de la disposition contestée ne fait pas disparaître l'atteinte éventuelle aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit et n'ôte donc pas son effet utile à la question prioritaire de constitutionnalité. Rejet des conclusions aux fins de non-lieu.

(2020-849 QPC, 17 June 2020, cons. 14, 15, JORF n°0149 du 18 juin 2020, texte n° 73)
À voir aussi sur le site : Communiqué de presse, Commentaire, Dossier documentaire, Décision de renvoi CE, Références doctrinales, Vidéo de la séance.