Conflict & Justice

ElBaradei frontrunner for Egypt presidency in Facebook poll


Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei waves to supporters in Tahrir Square on January 30, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.


Peter Macdiarmid

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency and one of Egypt's most well known reform activists, is the frontrunner in the country's upcoming presidential elections, according to a new poll on Facebook.

The survey was posted on the social networking site by Egypt's military-led interim government, which has governed the country since the February 11 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

As of Wednesday, more than 130,000 people had "voted" in the poll, which lists 18 possible candidates for Egypt's presidency.

ElBaradei received around 33% of the total (around 44,000 votes). In second and third places were Mohamed Selim Al Awa (around 29,000 votes), a prominent Islamic scholar, and Ahmed Shafik (around 16,000 votes), the country's former prime minister who resigned in March.

Egypt's first female presidential candidate, Bothaina Kamel, garnered less than 1,000 votes.

The Associated Press points out that the Facebook poll is, of course, "not scientific, reaching only about a fifth of the population of 85 million who have access to the internet."

Still, the poll could be an early indicator for the election, according to the AP report.  

Egypt's presidential election is scheduled for later this fall after the September parliamentary vote.

Some Egyptians called the poll "unethical", believing that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is ruling Egypt during the transitional period, has no business getting involved in presidential politics.

Daily News Egypt reports:

“This poll is completely unacceptable and uncalled for and can even be considered unethical,” professor of political campaigning at the faculty of mass communication at Cairo University, Safwat El-Alem, told Daily News Egypt.

“This is an extremely dangerous step by the army to get involved in a poll on presidential hopefuls, when it’s the ruler of the country now,” he added.

The same Cairo-based local newspaper reminds readers that the online survey is hardly a gauge of how Egyptians would vote - anyone in the world can take part in the Facebook poll.