The departmental elections (ex-cantonal) designate the members of the county council (ex-general) within the framework of the canton.
It is with the law n ° 2013-403 of May 17, 2013 relating to the election of the departmental councilors, councilors and community advisers, that the assembly which directs the department takes the name of departmental council (in replacement of the previous name of general council).
The mode of election of departmental councilors (former general councilors) is also modified.
The new voting system was applied for the first time during the departmental elections of March 2015: two departmental councilors were elected in each canton in the two-round binominal election . The candidates came in pairs consisting of a woman and a man . This provision aims to pursue the goal of parity that had begun to be implemented since the law of 31 January 2007, providing that the substitutes must be of the opposite sex to that of the candidate.
In addition, to ensure parity, the law provides that the pair of alternates of candidates must also be composed of two persons of different sexes, so that each candidate and his replacement are of the same sex.
The pairs of candidates of different sexes must file a joint declaration of candidacy before each ballot.
Elected for six years , the departmental councilors are now renewed in full . It should be noted that Paris, both municipality and department, does not know any departmental elections, the Council of Paris being elected according to the municipal ballot.
To be elected in the first round, a pair must collect both an absolute majority and a quarter of registered voters . If none of the pairs wins in the first round, a second round is organized.
In the second round, the pairs who obtained at least 12.5% of the votes of the registered voters (Article L210, paragraph 8) are allowed to run. However, since this second condition is severe, in particular because of the often high abstention , the electoral code allows the pair who has received the most votes, after the pair fulfilling the conditions, to maintain themselves, or both if none fulfills the conditions, as was already the case previously with the single-member ballot. In the second round, the relative majority (the largest number of votes) is enough to be elected.
The provisions concerning the replacement of departmental councilors who died or resigned , following the partial censorship by the Constitutional Council of the law of 17 May 2013, were adopted by the legislator in the law of 16 January 2015 on the delimitation of the regions. . The censored provisions could lead to vacant too many seats of departmental councilors and for too long a duration, which was considered contrary to the principle of free administration of local authorities.
This new voting system came into force during the March 2015 local elections and mechanically led to a massive influx of women into the county councils.