By Zhihui Zou 4:48 am PST

The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will begin on April 10. The current French president Emmanuel Macron announced at the last minute that he would be joining the election to seek a second term in office. The election consists of two rounds. Should no candidate receive the majority of votes in the first round, a run-off will occur on April 24.

To become a preliminary candidate for the French presidential election, the candidate must receive at least 500 signatures of support from elected officials. This is the first challenge toward the French presidency. The twelve preliminary presidential election candidates who received 500 or more signatures were announced on March 7.

One French presidential term lasts five years. Unlike many other democratic countries like the United States, the French president is selected through direct universal suffrage. There is no electoral college like that in the US. On the other hand, some say that the French presidency is the most powerful position among modern democratic countries.

The French president has many titles and power. It is the head of both the French State and military. The French prime minister is also appointed directly by the president. More importantly, the president can directly set France’s policy agenda, propose laws, maintain foreign relations, and many other executive tasks that the president of another democratic country has to battle through the parliament to obtain. Moreover, the French president could dissolve the parliament or use a public referendum to override the parliament’s decision.

The French president is also highly unlikely to be removed from office. The French Parliament has no power to impeach or dismiss a president, and the president cannot be criminally charged during the presidency. Furthermore, according to Article 16 of the French Constitution, during a time of national crisis or the presence of a national threat, the president can assume total executive power.

With power in both the executive and the parliamentary sections of the government, the French presidency is sought over by many.