The cyber-age has its perils even when it comes to politics. Just ask Hillary Clinton who had a bulk of her e-mails leaked when she used a private server in March 2015. Many say this cost her the presidential election. Is Emmanuel Macron the next victim?
On Friday, a collection of links were posted on PasteBin. Among them was 9 gigabytes of classified e-mails and documents from Emmanuel Macron’s centrist political part ‘En Marche!”.
Emmanuel Macron is the left-leaning candidate contesting against Marine Le Pen in the French Presidential Election. Of the most recent polls, Macron was given a 20-point lead on Marine Le Penn.
Many call the French election the make-or-break point for Europe. Experts are looking closely at the French election as it is expected that the results here would largely define the future of the European Union as well as upcoming elections in the area.
The election also marks a key transition in French Politics. As the BBC notes,
For the first time, neither of the main parties – the Socialists and the Republicans – has a candidate in the run-off.
The key question certainly arises- Will Macron’s email scandal slash his chances of becoming France’s youngest President?
At first sight, the e-mail leak looks exactly like the one which occurred with Hillary Clinton in the American election- understandably so.
- Both seem to be a sabotage of left wing candidates
- Both happened in a time period crucial to the election
- Both were leaked digitally and amplified by websites like Wikileaks
Digging deeper, though, would reveal that the recent email hack is quite different.
While most reports show Russia to be behind the American hacks, there has been no investigation into the recent French leaks. En Marche has been blaming the highest echelons of the Kremlin for the sabotage. They have also claimed that Russia has leaked fake documents in an effort to frame Macron.
Regardless, these email leaks come in far too late to have any significant impact on the outcome of the French presidential election. To quote Wired Magazine,
The latest leak of emails appears far more slap-dash than the Russian hacks and leaks that plagued Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The attack came in barely a couple days from the election itself. Yet, in spite of the bad timing of the attacks, far-right activists completely capitalized on it and amplified the news all over social media.
According to the NY Times,
Within hours after the hacked documents were made public, the hashtag #MacronLeaks began trending worldwide, aided by far-right activists in the United States who have been trying to sway the vote in favor of Ms. Le Pen.
Further, the leaked information from the email hack has also been banned from being shared with the public for now. As was was published in The Independent,
France’s electoral commission has ordered media not to publish contents of Emmanuel Macron‘s leaked campaign emails to avoid influencing the election.
It warned news outlets in France that journalists could face criminal charges for publishing or republishing the material, under laws that came into effect at midnight forbidding any commentary liable to affect the presidential race.
In retrospect, the online dumping of Macron’s confidential emails shouldn’t have any major impact on the election. A week ago, polls showed Macron to achieve a comfortable win over his right-wing counterpart. Despite the controversy and outrage on social media, the outcome is unlikely to change.
The big question now becomes- What was in those emails that had to be leaked so urgently? Is Macron guilty of the accusations his party says is made in an effort to frame him?
Is France electing the right president?