A Mediterranean country that straddles two continents, today Egypt added a new dimension to its strategic value: democracy, or to be more precise, its first ever presidential election which historians are likely to judge as worthy of bearing the label ‘free and fair’. With over 50 million voters eligible to indicate their electoral preferences over no less than two days of balloting action, it is no exaggeration to term this one of the most significant occasions in the Middle East’s modern epoch.
One of the more intriguing aspects of this contest is the enthusiastic use of technology in the campaigns of the various presidential campaigns, with the social networking sites that played such an integral part in the downfall of the previous incumbent very much to the fore. The candidature of frontrunner Dr. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh – a former senior member of the somewhat unwieldy Muslim Brotherhood movement who has forged a unique electoral umbrella including Tahrir Square revolutionaries, Coptic Christians and disaffected Salafis – was to our mind particularly eye-catching, but not necessarily for obvious reasons.
Yes, at the time of writing Dr. Aboul Fotouh’s Facebook page has an eye-watering 540,000 ‘likes’, a figure high enough to make almost anyone familiar with the exceptional slog involved in obtaining even a handful of such approvals incandescent with jealousy; yes, his Twitter following:followers ratio of 1:237,860 is something that appears beyond even our own collective appeal.
But even Dr. Aboul Fotouh’s Internet presence is not flawless.
As evidenced by the above picture, he has forgotten to change his Joomla! favicon, meaning that the world at large can see that his traffic-heavy homepage is built using one of the world’s most popular open source content management systems. Could some open-source governance be too much to expect from the physician who could possibly be the next president of Egypt, and who has been publicly endorsed by one Wael Ghonim?