The French campaign watchdog on Saturday began investigating the “massive and coordinated piracy action” that presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron reported just minutes before the official end of campaigning in the most heated election for the presidency that France has seen in decades. Late Friday, the Macron campaign said in a statement that it had been the victim of a major hacking operation that saw thousands of emails and other internal communications dumped into the public domain. At the end of a high-stakes race, the news quickly stoked fears of a targeted operation meant to destabilize the electoral process, especially after reports of Russian hacking in the U.S. presidential election.
Macron, an independent centrist, is facing off against the far-right populist and National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who for years has benefited from considerable Russian financial support and from favorable coverage in state-run Russian media. Voters are set to decide Sunday which candidate becomes France’s next president.
“Intervening in the last hour of the official campaign, this operation is obviously a democratic destabilization, as has already been seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign,” the Macron campaign said.