reliable and rigorous system than the American system. In 1980 MarieFrance Toinet, a French political scientist specializing in the United States, 69 already noted how dissatisfied the Americans were with their presidential election process, seen by many as an “old badly maintained machine.U +201D She quoted several critical comments denouncing the fact that the result of the election of the president of the United States “is the effect of chance, money, advertising and luck.” 70 Neither chance nor luck should come into play in France, where the presidential election system claims to be perfectly under control from the beginning to the end of the electoral process.
Even so, this system is not wholly protected from unpredictable events like those involved in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore. The paradox is that the Constitutional Council is at even greater risk than the U.S. Supreme Court, which apparently did not actually have to rule directly on the election itself but could have left it to Congress. In France, this would not be possible. The Constitutional Council is bound by the Constitution to have the last word. If it has doubts as to the results, it must consider every possible and every conceivable legal argument and then come to a final decision. The principles of electoral law in this situation should prompt it to annul the election. But can one ever know in advance what a supreme or constitutional court will decide to do in a given political configuration? “I never promised you a rose garden. I never promised you a perfect justice, ” wrote the American author Hannah Green. All we can hope is that an electoral court that is forced to intervene directly in such a political process (a situation that the Constitutional Council has not experienced since it was established) will above all resist the temptation of politicization.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000. Contributors: Arthur J. Jacobson - Editor, Michel Rosenfeld - Editor. Publisher: University of California Press. Place of publication: Berkeley, CA. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 311.
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