France’s first electronic election has turned into a farce with reports coming in of the sort of election rigging that you would expect from third world countries like Afghanistan, Zimbabwe or the USA.
An “online-primary” claimed as “fraud-proof” and as “ultra secure” as the Maginot Line, has turned out to be vulnerable to a Blizkrieg of multiple and fake voting.
The election was supposed to anoint a rising star of the moderate right, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, 39, as the party’s candidate in the election for mayor of Paris next spring.
Some of her problems was that she abstained in the final parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage in late April and hard-right figures within the party urged militant opponents of gay marriage to swamp the open primary with votes for a young Paris city councillor, Pierre-Yves Bournazel.
So it was going to be a tight election, and then journalists from Metronews proved that it was easy to breach the allegedly strict security of the election. They voted several times using different names to prove their point.
To vote, Parisians were supposed to make a credit-card payment of €3 and give the name and address of someone on the city’s electoral roll.
A Metronews journalist managed to vote five times, paying with the same credit card, using names which included that of Nicolas Sarkozy.
The situation is particularly tricky for the UMP party which has been accused of election fraud before. Last year the UMP almost split amid allegations of ballot-stuffing and other dirty tricks in an election to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as the national party president.
Former Prime Minister, François Fillon, accused his rival, the party secretary general, Jean-Francois Copé, of “fraud on an industrial scale”.