Territoire de Belfort's 1st constituency by-election, 2018

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Territoire de Belfort's 1st constituency by-election, 2018

← 2017 28 January 2018 (first round)
4 February 2018 (second round)
2022 →
Turnout 29.51% Decrease20.23% (first round)
28.91% Decrease15.35% (second round)
  Ian Boucard (cropped).jpg Christophe Grudler (cropped).jpg 2018-01-24 22-26-34 meeting-fi-belfort (cropped).jpg
Nominee Ian Boucard Christophe Grudler Anais Beltran
1st round
39.02% Increase15.32%
26.67% Decrease5.16%
11.62% Decrease0.55%
2nd round
58.93% Increase8.17%
41.07% Decrease8.17%

  2018-01-20 19-19-34 meeting-fn-belfort (cropped).jpg 2015-03-18 22-44-33 meeting-soc-belfort (cropped).jpg 2018-01-25 20-43-04 meeting-dlf-belfort (cropped).jpg
Nominee Jean-Raphaël Sandri Vincent Jeudy Julie Kohlenberg
1st round
7.52% Decrease9.98%
4.45% Increase4.45%
3.82% Increase3.82%
2nd round
Eliminated Eliminated Eliminated

Deputy before election

Ian Boucard

Elected deputy

Ian Boucard

The first round of a by-election was held in Territoire de Belfort's 1st constituency on 28 January 2018, with a second round on 4 February because no candidate secured a majority of votes in the first round. The by-election was called due to the invalidation of the election of Ian Boucard, candidate of The Republicans (LR), in the June 2017 legislative elections by the Constitutional Council on 8 December 2017, due to the distribution of misleading electoral leaflets by Boucard's campaign between the two rounds.

The by-election was the first since the election of Emmanuel Macron as president, and marked the first confrontation between The Patriots and the National Front (FN) since Florian Philippot quit the FN to found his own party.

In the first round on 28 January, Ian Boucard of The Republicans and Christophe Grudler of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) advanced to the second round, as they did in June 2017, with Boucard securing a far higher percentage of votes amid low turnout. Boucard won the second round of the by-election on 4 February by a margin of nearly 18 points.


The night of the second round of the 2017 legislative election in Territoire de Belfort's 1st constituency on 18 June, Christophe Grudler, candidate of the Democratic Movement (MoDem), announced that he would file an appeal with the Constitutional Council appealing the election of Ian Boucard of The Republicans (LR). In particular, Grudler suspected that Boucard was responsible for the distribution of an electoral leaflet purporting to be from La France Insoumise (FI) and featuring imagery of Jean-Luc Mélenchon between the two rounds; the party subsequently confirmed that it was not responsible for the leaflet.[1]

On 8 December, the constitutional council resolved to annul the result of the election in the constituency, arguing that the distribution of 10,000 and 15,000 leaflets, respectively, purporting to be from La France Insoumise and the National Front (FN) by the campaign of Boucard – without the agreement of either party – would have been sufficient to influence enough voters in the constituency to vote differently than they might otherwise would have, and potentially produced a different result, given the small vote margin separating the candidates. As a result, a by-election was called within the constituency to fill the vacant seat.[2]

On 15 December 2017, the by-election was scheduled for 28 January 2018, with a second round on 4 February should no candidate secure a majority of votes in the first round.[3] Candidates were required to declare their candidacies between 2 and 5 January.[4] It was the first by-election since Emmanuel Macron was elected president, coinciding with the by-election in Val-d'Oise's 1st constituency held on the same day.[5]

Polling stations were open from 8:00 to 18:00 CET during both rounds.[6][7]


The first candidates to officially declare their candidacies were Ian Boucard for The Republicans, Christophe Grudler for the MoDem and La République En Marche! (REM), Yves Fontanive for Lutte Ouvrière (LO), and Jonathan Vallart for the Popular Republican Union (UPR), with Jean-Raphaël Sandri invested again by the National Front.[8] The left-of-centre parties discussed the possibility of a union to present a single candidate,[9] with these discussions ultimately resulting in a union candidacy led by Anaïs Beltran for La France Insoumise, supported by the Citizen and Republican Movement (MRC) and French Communist Party (PCF), while the Socialist Party (PS) nominated Arthur Courty as its candidate, and Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) nominated Vincent Jeudy, who received 6.5% of the vote in the department's other constituency during the 2017 legislative elections.[10] Julie Kohlenberg received the investiture of Debout la France (DLF),[11] and Sophie Montel, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who joined Florian Philippot in leaving the FN to form The Patriots, within which she serves as vice president, also contested the by-election.[12]

On 9 January 2018, the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) announced its support for Ian Boucard, candidate of The Republicans (LR), with UDI deputy Michel Zumkeller, who represents the neighboring constituency, not having faced a LR opponent in the June 2017 legislative elections.[13]


Grudler accuses Boucard of "electoral fraud" on 25 January
Sandri and Collard on 20 January

Numerous politicians visited the constituency ahead of the by-election in support of their parties' candidates. On 18 January, Christian Jacob, president of the LR group in the National Assembly, visited the constituency in support of Boucard,[14] as did deputy Annie Genevard. On 19 January, MoDem minister Jacqueline Gourault and president of the MoDem group in the National Assembly Marc Fesneau visited in support of Grudler,[15] followed by Philippot in support of Montel and FN deputy Gilbert Collard and mayor of Hénin-Beaumont Steeve Briois in support of Sandri on 20 January,[14] with Sébastien Chenu visiting later.[15] Alexis Corbière visited in support of Beltran on 24 January, as did Clémentine Autain,[16] followed by François Bayrou and Christophe Castaner in a joint meeting in support of Grudler on 25 January.[14] Boris Vallaud was the only Socialist to visit in support of Courty. David Cormand,[17] Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and François Asselineau also visited to support the candidates of their respective parties.[16]

A debate co-hosted by Catherine Eme-Ziri of France 3 Franche-Comté and Emilie Pou of France Bleu Belfort Montbéliard between Boucard, Grudler, Sandri, Montel, Beltran, and Courty was broadcast live online on 12 January, before being shown on "Dimanche en Politique" on France 3 Franche-Comté on 14 January. Philippe Piot, journalist for L'Est Républicain in Belfort, was also present at the debate.[18]

At the public meeting on 18 January with Jacob and Genevard, Boucard announced he would sue Grudler for calling him a "cheater" and "fraudster" over the distribution of leaflets by LR activists purporting to be from La France Insoumise and the National Front (which resulted in the invalidation of the election by the constitutional council). The hearing was held on 25 January, the same day as the visit of Bayrou and Castaner in support of Grudler.[19] At the hearing, Boucard's lawyer accused Grudler of distributing "defamatory and injurious" electoral leaflets that alleged he had committed "outright electoral fraud" and a "robbery" during the campaign in June, and further added that Grudler's campaign distorted the decision of the constitutional council. The defense lawyer stood by the characterization, emphasizing that the constitutional council ruled in favor of Grudler's challenge and invalidated the election in June. Boucard, along with mayor of Belfort Damien Meslot (who was also accused of "robbery"), sought €500 in damages in the case,[20] which was dismissed on 8 February, after the by-election. Boucard and Meslot were ordered to pay Grudler €1,000 and cover legal costs associated with the case.[21]

The by-election was the first electoral challenge on the far-right between The Patriots and the National Front,[15] with Montel, the former president of the FN group in the regional council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and a currently-serving MEP, having been a prominent member of the National Front within the region before she joined Philippot's party. However, she does not reside within the constituency.[22]

Controversial posts by Sandri on social media were discovered by French media, including a tweet evoking the "problem" of removal of "transsexualism" from the list of mental illnesses.[23] A report in Libération published a week before the first round uncovered the alleged Facebook account of the FN candidate, connected to several FN officials and apparent family members and with the same date of birth and location, under the name of "JR Alexandre". Though Sandri denied the account was his when questioned about it,[24] and said that the "journalist and Sophie Montel are in cahoots", posts by the account were removed the following day. Among the activities of the account were a number of likes on anti-abortion pages, support for Francoism, jokes about the Nazis, and several images of Augusto Pinochet, including one used as the account's profile image.[25] In a statement, Montel denounced Sandri's behavior and support for "authoritarian regimes", demanding that Marine Le Pen "firmly condemn" the FN candidate in the constituency.[26]

In the first round on 28 January, Boucard led Grudler by 12 percentage points, reversing the order in June. Beltran lagged well behind with 11.62% of the vote, followed by Sandri, who fell to 7.52% of the vote. While the race between Sandri and Montel was closely watched, the latter ultimately garnered only 1.99% of the vote. Socialist candidate Arthur Courty received 2.60% of the vote, an extremely low score compared to the party's score of 9.10% in the June 2017 legislative elections.[27][28] A debate between the two rounds was broadcast on France Bleu Belfort Montbéliard between 18:30 and 19:00 CET on 1 February, co-hosted with Philippe Piot, journalist for L'Est Républicain.[29] Boucard was re-elected by a large margin in the second round on 4 February, securing 58.93% of the vote against 41.07% for Grudler.[7]

2017 election result

First round results by commune
Second round results by commune
Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Christophe Grudler MoDem 7,379 31.83 9,131 49.25
Ian Boucard LR 5,493 23.70 9,410 50.75
Jean-Raphaël Sandri FN 4,057 17.50
Anais Beltran FI 2,821 12.17
Bastien Faudot PSMRC 2,110 9.10
Philippe Legros SE 431 1.86
Sabine Verdant PCF 334 1.44
Christiane Petitot LO 243 1.05
Jonathan Vallart UPR 175 0.75
Mustafa Cetin SE 139 0.60
Romain Lagache SE 0 0.00
Votes 23,182 100.00 18,541 100.00
Valid votes 23,182 97.35 18,541 87.59
Blank votes 430 1.81 1,840 8.69
Null votes 200 0.84 788 3.72
Turnout 23,812 49.74 21,169 44.25
Abstentions 24,061 50.26 26,669 55.75
Registered voters 47,873 47,838
Source: Ministry of the Interior, political parties

2018 by-election result

First round results by commune
Second round results by commune
Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % +/– Votes % +/–
Ian Boucard LRUDI 5,266 39.02 +15.32 7,229 58.93 +8.17
Christophe Grudler MoDemREM 3,600 26.67 –5.16 5,039 41.07 –8.17
Anais Beltran FIMRCPCF 1,568 11.62 –0.55
Jean-Raphaël Sandri FN 1,015 7.52 –9.98
Vincent Jeudy EELV 601 4.45 +4.45
Julie Kohlenberg DLF 515 3.82 +3.82
Arthur Courty PS 351 2.60 –6.50
Sophie Montel LP 268 1.99 +1.99
Yves Fontanive LO 214 1.59 +0.54
Jonathan Vallart UPR 99 0.73 –0.02
Votes 13,497 100.00 12,268 100.00
Valid votes 13,497 96.39 –0.97 12,268 89.06 +1.47
Blank votes 339 2.42 –0.62 959 6.96 –1.73
Null votes 167 1.19 +0.35 548 3.98 –0.26
Turnout 14,003 29.51 –20.23 13,775 28.91 –15.35
Abstentions 33,451 70.49 +20.23 33,880 71.09 +15.35
Registered voters 47,454 47,655
Source: Préfecture du Territoire de Belfort, Préfecture du Territoire de Belfort


  1. ^ Sophie Courageot (8 December 2017). "Belfort : L'élection du député LR Ian Boucard invalidée par le Conseil Constitutionnel". France 3 Franche-Comté. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Décision n°2017-5067 AN du 8 décembre 2017". Conseil constitutionnel. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Décret n° 2017-1693 du 15 décembre 2017 portant convocation des électeurs pour l'élection d'un député à l'Assemblée nationale (1re circonscription du département du Territoire de Belfort)". Légifrance. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Elections législatives partielles des 28 janvier et 04 février 2018 dans la 1ère circonscription". Préfecture du Territoire de Belfort. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  5. ^ Manon Rescan; Cédric Pietralunga (26 January 2018). "Législatives partielles dans le Val d'Oise et à Belfort : un test pour l'exécutif". Le Monde. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Election législative partielle ce dimanche dans le Territoire de Belfort". L'Est Républicain. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Ian Boucard très largement élu". L'Est Républicain. 4 February 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  8. ^ Nicolas Wilhelm (20 December 2017). "Territoire de Belfort : une campagne éclair pour la législative partielle". France Bleu Belfort-Montbéliard. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  9. ^ Isabelle Rolland; Emilie Pou (8 December 2017). "Première circonscription du Territoire de Belfort : il y aura une nouvelle élection législative d'ici 3 mois". France Bleu Belfort-Montbéliard. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  10. ^ Nicolas Wilhelm (2 January 2018). "Législative partielle à Belfort : la gauche en ordre dispersé". France Bleu Belfort-Montbéliard. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  11. ^ Catherine Eme-Ziri (5 January 2018). "Qui sont les 10 candidats pour la législative partielle dans le Territoire de Belfort ?". France 3 Franche-Comté. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ Marylou Magal (3 January 2018). "Sophie Montel : " Rallumer l'espoir du patriotisme "". Le Point. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. ^ "L'UDI soutient les candidats LR lors de deux législatives partielles". Europe 1. Agence France-Presse. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Ludovic Vigogne; Béatrice Houchard (16 January 2018). "A Belfort, bousculades garanties pour la prochaine législative partielle". L'Opinion. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Anne-Laëtitia Béraud (20 January 2018). "Législative partielle sur le Territoire de Belfort: Election-test pour la macronie et embouteillage à l'extrême droite". 20 minutes. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b Jean-Pierre Tenoux (20 January 2018). "FN, Patriotes : choc électoral à Belfort". Le Dauphiné Libéré. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  17. ^ Jean-Pierre Tenoux (27 January 2018). "Belfort, législatives dans l'indifférence". L'Est Républicain. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  18. ^ Catherine Eme-Ziri (9 January 2018). "Election législative partielle dans le Territoire de Belfort: LE débat !". France 3 Franche-Comté. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  19. ^ Philippe Piot (18 January 2018). "Boucard (LR) poursuit Grudler (MoDem-LREM) en justice". L'Est Républicain. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Législative partielle à Belfort: le candidat MoDem-LREM jugé pour diffamation contre son rival LR". France 3 Franche-Comté. Agence France-Presse. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  21. ^ Philippe Piot (8 February 2018). "Diffamation : Boucard et Meslot déboutés contre Grudler". L'Est Républicain. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  22. ^ Catherine Eme-Ziri (4 January 2018). "Législative partielle dans le Territoire de Belfort : la guerre à l'extrême droite". France 3 Franche-Comté. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  23. ^ Loïc Le Clerc (21 January 2018). "Législative partielle à Belfort : quand le candidat FN évoquait le "problème" du retrait de la transsexualité de la "liste des maladies mentales"". Europe 1. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  24. ^ Tristan Berteloot (21 January 2018). "A Belfort, FN et Patriotes peinent à marquer le Territoire". Libération. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  25. ^ Mersiha Nezic (22 January 2018). "Le candidat du FN derrière un compte Facebook trash ?". L'Est Républicain. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  26. ^ Isabelle Brunnarius (22 January 2018). "Guerre ouverte entre Les Patriotes et le Front National sur les réseaux sociaux". France 3 Franche-Comté. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Résultats définitifs élection législative partielle 2018 Tour 1" (PDF). Préfecture du Territoire de Belfort. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Législatives partielles à Belfort et dans le Val-d'Oise : les candidats LR et LRM respectivement en tête". Le Monde. Agence France-Presse. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  29. ^ Emilie Pou (1 February 2018). "Législative partielle du Territoire de Belfort: Le débat Christophe Grudler/ Ian Boucard". France Bleu Belfort Montbéliard. Retrieved 1 February 2018.

External links

  • Debate broadcast online on 12 January
  • Debate recorded on 1 February
  • Results of past legislative by-elections from the Ministry of the Interior (in French)
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