Eiffel Tower being photographed at dusk

Cybersecurity fears prompt France to drop electronic voting

France’s government has dropped plans to let its citizens abroad vote electronically in this June’s legislative elections due to concerns about the risk of cyber attacks, the Foreign Ministry said.

The National Cybersecurity Agency in France declared there was an “extremely high risk” of cyber attacks.

“In that light, it was decided that it would be better to take no risk that might jeopardise the legislative vote for French citizens residing abroad,” the ministry said in a statement.

Concern about foreign interference in Western elections has surged amid allegations of Russian hacking throughout the US presidential elections, accusations which Moscow denies.

Since 2012, French citizens abroad had been allowed to vote electronically in legislative elections, although not in the presidential vote. France will elect a new president in a two-round ballot during April and May 2017.

The legislative election will be held in two later rounds on June 11 and 18. France’s 1.3 million citizens abroad are represented in the lower house of parliament by 11 electoral districts.

In the presidential race, frontrunner Emmanuel Macron’s camp has said he is being targeted by Russian media and internet attacks from within Russia, with the goal of helping the campaigns of his pro-Moscow rivals, allegations that Russian media and the Kremlin deny.

Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said last month that France would take retaliatory measures against any country that interfered in the presidential election.

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