Fake votes mar France’s first electronic election

 

Paris

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, already enfeebled by a chaotic national leadership election last year, faces further ridicule in a Paris town hall primary election which ends tonight.

An “online-primary”, claimed as “fraud-proof” and “ultra secure”, has turned out to be vulnerable to multiple and fake voting. The four-day election has also the exposed the poisonous divisions created within the centre-right Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) by the law permitting gay marriage which took effect last week.

France’s first “electronic election” had been expected 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. The former environment minister, known as “NKM”, was runaway favourite to win in the first round  until she abstained in the final parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage in late April.

Several hard-right figures within the party have since urged militant opponents of gay marriage to swamp the open primary with votes for a relatively, obscure, young Paris city councillor, Pierre-Yves Bournazel, 35. Although Mr Bournazel has been “gay-friendly” in the past, he has emerged – cynically, say his critics – as a standard bearer for the virulent right-wing opposition to the new law.

What was already shaping up as a tense and close election was thrown into utter confusion at the weekend. Journalists from the news site Metronews proved that it was easy to breach the allegedly strict security of the election and vote several times using different names.

To register their vote on-line, 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. Metronews said that one of its journalists had managed to vote five times, paying with the same credit card, using names, including that of Nicolas Sarkozy.

The discovery generated an explosion of name-calling within the party and calls by Mr Bournazel for the primary to be abandoned. After a three-hour crisis meeting on Saturday, the Paris federation of the UMP decided to press ahead but imposed a vow of silence on all four candidates until the first round of voting ends at 7pm this evening. Last November, 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.

The narrowly defeated candidate,  the former Prime Minister, François Fillon, accused the winner, the party secretary general, Jean-Francois Copé of “fraud on an industrial scale”. 

Mr Cope “won” by a handful of votes after hundreds of overseas ballots were inexplicably left out of the final count. President François Hollande’s Socialist party sprang joyfully on the main opposition’s party’s new embarrassment yesterday.  

The first secretary of the Parti Socialiste, Harlem Desiré said that the UMP Paris primary was shaping up as an “absolute fiasco”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss