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Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Quick guide: How the French presidential election works

Quick guide: How the French presidential election works

"The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening, which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information", the statement said.

France's election campaign commission is investigating a hacking attack on presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron's political movement and the leaking of documents online. Much of what was leaked includes what appears to be fake news mixed with real information from Macron's campaign.

The commission urged French media and citizens "not to relay" the leaked documents "in order not to alter the sincerity of the vote".

Election campaign posters for French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are displayed in front of the polling station where Marine Le Pen will vote in Henin Beaumont, northern France, Saturday, May 6, 2017.

The commission said it would hold a meeting early on Saturday to discuss the attack that Mr Macron's team said was a bid to destabilise Sunday's vote.

The first French territory to vote Saturday was Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, an archipelago near Newfoundland, where voters came dressed in scarves and jackets to ward off the chilly weather.

The perpetrators remain unknown. It's unclear whether the document dump will dent Macron's large polling lead over Le Pen going into the vote.

The election pits Macron and his business-friendly, pro-European vision against Le Pen and her protectionist, closed-borders view that resonates with workers left behind by globalization.

Opinion polls indicate they will pick Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old ex-economy minister who wants to bridge the left-right divide, resisting an anti-establishment tide that has seen Britons vote to leave the European Union and Americans choose Donald Trump as USA president.

The leak, which began just before the blackout descended at midnight, in theatrical timing befitting the dramatic campaign.

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On Friday night as the #Macronleaks hashtag buzzed around social media, Florian Philippot, deputy leader of the National Front, tweeted, "Will Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism has deliberately killed?"

"'Macron has a, shall we say, different personal background than most politicians to begin with", the comedian stated. (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked.

Someone on 4chan - a site known, among other things, for cruel hoaxes and political extremism - posted links to a large set of data which was said to have come from Macron's campaign.

Former economy minister Mr Macron's campaign has previously complained about attempts to hack its emails, blaming Russian interests in part for the cyber attacks.

"We changed everything", win or lose, Le Pen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. Posobiec's online biography said he coordinated grassroots organising for a group that supported U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign.

In Henin-Beaumont in northern France, where Le Pen will cast her ballot on Sunday, 28-year-old Thomas Delannoy said the campaign "looks like reality TV".

The presidential campaign has been unusually bitter, with voters hurling eggs and flour, protesters clashing with police and candidates insulting each other on national television - a reflection of the widespread public disaffection with politics as usual.

Polls indicate that Mr. Macron has the most to lose if voters stay home or spoil their ballots.

Whoever wins Sunday's vote it is set to cause profound change for France, the world's sixth-biggest economy, a permanent member of the United Nations security council and a global military power.

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