Current French laws mean anyone who reveals exit polls before the curfew would be subject to a €75,000 fine. But savvy social media users easily bypassed this by using clever analogies.
Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy became Tokaji, a Hungarian wine, after his Hungarian heritage. Some referred to him as Rolex, after his “bling-bling” persona, or even his watch removal gaff last week.
Hollande became Gouda (made in Hollande), or the rather uncomplimentary “flanby” – a soft French caramel dessert – in reference to his recent weight loss.
Tweets such as “Dutch cheese at 27 euros, Tokai wine at 25 euros” revealed exit polls long before the 8pm deadline.
Some tweeters started referring to candidates’ personal lives to get the information across: “Carla Bruni has changed her Facebook status from “Married” to “It’s complicated”.
A photo was even fabricated showing Bruni holding a ballot card which read “Call me Francois. Change is now” – a play on the Social Party candidate’s campaign slogan.
Despite many of the tweets being made in jest, France’s polling commission are taking any tweets that allegedly broke the law very seriously.
The head of the commission, Jean-Francois Pillon, told AFP he would be asking the prosecutor to draw up charges against any “individual or media organisation” who may have done so.