The French have their own presidential election on Sunday. Aside from their list of candidates, which would make many Americans feel relieved in comparison, the French have topped the US in media-related constraints. Until the last polling station closes at 8 p.m., French law forbids the release of polls and preliminary results to avoid influencing voters and “uphold fair play.”

Naturally, the French have had to find a way around this:

French media have traditionally abided by the rule. During the last French presidential election, in 2007, Swiss and Belgian media leaked early results, but their websites were immediately bogged down by an onslaught of impatient French citizens.

Earlier this week, the Paris prosecutor issued a statement to remind everybody of the law, although his message exceeded the Twitter limit of 140 characters. “By virtue of the clauses of article 11 of the law number 77-808 of July 19 1977 (modified by the law 2002-214 of February 19 2002), any form of publication, broadcast, poll commentary, by any means is forbidden,” the prosecutor said….

On Friday, rebellious Internet bloggers began laying the foundations of subversion by developing codes to circumvent the ban on publishing results before it is time.

So, if your French friend tweets “the Netherlands are beating Hungary at half time,” he may actually mean that Socialist Party candidate François Hollande has emerged from the first round of the election with a lead on French President Nicolas Sarkozy—who has Hungarian roots.

There’s more of the spoof here at Le Monde. 

If the US had to use euphemisms for each candidate, what would they be?


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