PARIS – Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Friday she believes she can pull off a surprise victory in France’s high-stakes runoff Sunday, while independent front-runner Emmanuel Macron suffered a document leak that his team called a bid to throw the vote.
In an interview with The Associated Press in the final hours of a hostile, topsy-turvy campaign, Le Pen said that win or lose, “we changed everything.” She claimed an “ideological victory” for her populist, anti-immigrant worldview in an election that could change Europe’s direction.
Macron’s political movement said late Friday night it has been the victim of a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack that led to the leak of campaign emails and financial documents.
In a statement, the En Marche movement said it was hacked a few weeks ago, and that the leaked documents have been mixed with false documents to “seed doubt and disinformation” and destabilize Sunday’s presidential runoff. Hillary Clinton’s U.S. presidential campaign suffered similar leaks, and also said that authentic documents were mixed with false documents.
Fears of hacking, fake news manipulation and Russian meddling clouded the French campaign but had largely gone unrealized — until Friday’s admission by Macron’s campaign that it had suffered an online pirate attack.
U.S. far-right circles were abuzz with the news that Macron’s campaign had been hit by a massive disclosure, but the news comes soon after a crude forgery was circulated on an online message board popular with pranksters and extremists. Wikileaks sounded a skeptical note, saying the Macron…