Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

German elections face Russia cyber threat, Merkel warns

  • Merkel still needs to announce if she will seek a fourth term in office (Photo: Reuters)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Russia could try to influence Germany’s general election next year with cyber-attacks and disinformation.

The Obama administration earlier accused Moscow of similar meddling in the presidential election campaign.

"We are already now having to deal with information out of Russia or with internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news, which sows false information," Merkel told reporters at a press conference with the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg on Tuesday (8 November).

She said it was already something that Germany needed to deal with on a daily basis.

“So this could also play a role during the election campaign," Merkel added.

In October Washington formally accused the Russian government of trying to “interfere” in the election by hacking into the Democratic Party's servers.

The charges were dismissed by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Germany will hold its general election in September 2017, but Merkel has not announced yet if she will seek a fourth term in office.

German intelligence services have already warned of increasing cyber-attacks by Russia.

In May Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, warned that in the previous year, Russia had launched attacks against the German parliament, Nato members and French TV.

"Cyberspace is a place for hybrid warfare," he said at the time. "It opens a new space of operations for espionage and sabotage."

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

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