CAIRO: Egyptians have unilaterally decided to head to the ballot box, albeit a virtual one.
Armed with the tools of popular social networking website Facebook.com, users have created a presidential elections forum, encouraging participants to nominate any candidate they see fit to take over in 2011, when the incumbent President Hosni Mubarak ends his sixth term in office.
The forum is like an opinion poll determining the most suitable candidate to take on Egypt’s top office from a list of 15 nominees “through free elections, according to its online description.
The results of the first round of elections, published on Oct. 15 about three weeks after the forum kicked off, show that Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has emerged as a favorite, garnering 16 percents of the votes. He is followed by Gamal Mubarak, President Mubarak’s son and head of the powerful policy secretariat, with 10 percent then Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Front Party Osama Al Ghazaly Harb at third place with eight percent of the votes.
The list of candidates also included former opposition leader Ayman Nour (fifth place), Nobel Prize winner Dr Ahmed Zuweil (seventh place) and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, who shares the last spot with Islamic preacher Amr Khaled.
Candidates who received five votes or less were automatically cut from the list in the first round.
The online elections stipulate four rules: voters can only choose one candidate and they can only vote once. Supporters of a certain candidate can also campaign for him or her on the forum and finally any form of libel or defamation or the use of offensive language against any of the candidates is strictly forbidden.