French tweeters use WWII-inspired codes to post election results #radiolondres

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French Twitter users employed World War II codes to circumvent French legislation banning the prediction of voting results during the presidential elections.

Cunning tweeters turned the election into a fight between a red Dutch cheese and a green Hungarian wine, using the #radiolondres hashtag. Radio Londres was a French-language radio broadcast from the BBC which was sent out to Nazi-occupied France between 1940 and 1944. It used codes to communicate with the French Resistance and to counter Nazi propaganda.

French law states that no one can announce vote predictions before polls close, which in this case was at 8:00pm on Sunday 22 April. If they do they face a fine of up to €75,000 (£61,000).

Nicolas Sarkozy, the current serving president, became the Hungarian Tokaji wine because of his Hungarian father. Others referred to him as Rolex because of his flashy lifestyle. Francois Hollande, his Socialist rival, was referred to as Gouda cheese or Flanby, limp sweet pudding. “Left Party” candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon was linked to the former Soviet Union or referred to a rotten tomato. Meanwhile Marine Le Pen, a far-right Front National candidate, was linked to various dictators.

An example of the sort of tweets that circumvented French Law by revealing the results before 8.00pm includes: “Dutch cheese at 27 euros, Tokai wine at 25 euros. #radiolondres”.

Elsewhere the results were coded into weather, for example: “The weather looks like 27C in Amsterdam, 26C in Budapest, 17C in Nuremberg, 14C in Cuba et 10C in Pau”. Amsterdam here refers to Hollande, Nuremberg refers to Marine Le Pen, Budapest to Sarkozy, Cuba to “communist” candidate Melenchon and Pau is where another candidate Francois Bayrou. Many messages also directed people to sites in Belgium or Switzerland, which are outside of French jurisdiction.

The #radiolondres hashtag was mentioned a total of 64,575 times on 22 April and became the top trending topic in France.

The head of France’s polling commission Jean-Francois Pillon told AFP that he would be looking to clamp down on any “individuals and media organisations” who broke the law.

[Source: Wired]

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