Top 10 Egyptian political figures on Twitter

Zeinab El-Gundy , Thursday 25 Dec 2014

Egypt's most followed politicians and activists include one woman, one former president, and a number of figures who now live abroad

Ahram online
ElBaradei, Sawiris, Sabahi, Morsi and Ghonim (Photo: AO)

Since the 2011 revolution, when protests were initially organised on Facebook and Twitter, social media has become an important part of the political scene in Egypt.

Almost all political parties and figures now have verified accounts on Twitter and Facebook, viewing the medium as a way to reach the large audience of Egyptians who are on social media every day and look to the internet for much of their news.

Below, Ahram Online takes a quick look at the Egyptian politicians and political figures who have the most followers on Twitter.

One notable absence is President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who does not have an official account on Twitter or Facebook -- unlike former president Mohamed Morsi, who used both websites to communicate with the public, despite being in prison.

El-Sisi’s official presidential campaign was active on Twitter and Facebook during the presidential race in summer 2014, but suspended its activity after his election in June. 

Mohamed ElBaradei
Mohamed ElBaradei

1. Mohamed ElBaradei - @ElBaradei

Number of followers: 2.83 million

Follows: 37 Twitter accounts   

Number of tweets: 1,003

On Twitter since March 2010, Mohamed ElBaradei, the founder of the Constitution Party, is one of the most famous Egyptian faces on the network.

ElBaradei, who has resided abroad since he resigned from the post-Morsi cabinet in 2013, does not tweet very often. His 1,003 tweets are in English and Arabic and comment on political affairs in Egypt and the region. They are usually retweeted thousands of times.

The former vice-president follows only 37 other accounts, mostly international news websites and news channels as well as some international human rights organisations. 

Below is tweet from 17 June 2014 that generated over one thousand retweets:

إلى الشباب: أكرمني الله بكم. دائمًا في القلب. أنتم الضمير النقي والمستقبل والأمل. حفظكم الله لمصر

"To the youth, God honoured me by having you. You are always in the heart. You are the pure consciousness, the future and hope. May God protect you for Egypt." 

After resigning from his position as vice-president in August 2013, following the violent dispersal of the pro-Morsi Rabaa and Nahda protest camps, ElBaradei has tweeted far less frequently in Arabic.

His most recent tweet at the time of publication was English and related to the education of girls.

Education is the only solution

— Mohamed ElBaradei (@ElBaradei) December 20, 2014

Hamdeen Sabbahi
Hamdeen Sabbahi

2. Hamdeen Sabahi - @HamdeenSabahy 

Number of followers: 2.29 million

Follows: 7 accounts

Number of tweets: 575

Sabahi, a prominent leftist political and former presidential candidate, joined Twitter in May 2010.

He is the founder of the Popular Current political group, and the seven accounts he follows are related to that organisation.

Tweeting in Arabic, Sabahi's tweets usually garner press attention and are retweeted hundreds of times.  A tweet in May that condemns a controversial law that restricts protests generated over 1,300 retweets.    

"The protest law is unconstitutional, activists Mahinour El-Massry, Omar Hazak and Ahmed Douma as well all those sentenced according to that law should be released, and a new law compatible with the constitution should be drafted." 

Tweeting frequently, Nasserite Sabahi's most recent tweet was a comment commemorating the anniversary of the 1956 war and the invasion of Port Said by British and French forces.

فى عيد النصر تحية لبورسعيد، للمقاومة الشعبية ،لإرادة التحرر ، لكرامة اﻻحرار، للشعب المعلم وابنه البار جمال عبد الناصر.

حمدين صباحي(@HamdeenSabahy) December 23, 2014

"On the anniversary of our victory, a salute to Port Said , to the popular resistance, to the will of liberation and to the dignity of the free people. A salute to the Egyptian people and their son, (former president) Gamal Abdel-Nasser."  

Mohamed Morsi
Mohamed Morsi

3. Mohamed Morsi  - @MuhammadMorsi  

Number of followers: 2.15 million

Following: 0 

Number of tweets: 1,209 

Mohamed Morsi was ousted from the presidency in July 2013 following popular protests, and was since detained and charged with offences including incitement to murder. Nonetheless, Morsi’s official account is still active.  

During his year-long presidency the account was used to publish official presidential statements. Now that he is in prison, the account is believed to be operated from abroad by a group of leading Muslim Brotherhood members.

The last series of tweets published on the account were on 25 October. They included a link to a statement from Morsi calling on the revolutionary youth not to recognise "the coup" against him.

النص الكامل لرسالة الدكتور محمد مرسي - رئيس جمهورية مصر العربية - إلى الشعب المصري

د.محمد مرسي(@MuhammadMorsi) October 25, 2014

"The complete text of Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of Arab Republic of Egypt's message to the Egyptian people."

Morsi is facing several trials on charges including breaking out of prison in January 2011, espionage and high treason, and the killing of protesters at the presidential palace in December 2012.  

Amr Hamzawy
Amr Hamzawy

4. Amr Hamzawy - @HamzawyAmr

Number of followers: 2.17 million

Follows: 10 accounts  

Number of tweets: 5,525

Hamzawy, a liberal and a former MP, joined Twitter in March 2011.

He currently uses Twitter to inform followers about his writing, whether his column in Al-Shorouk newspaper or on other websites.  

Interestingly the founder of Masr Al-Horreya party does not follow his wife, well-known actress Basma Ahmed, on Twitter. The accounts he follows on his official Twitter account are all news websites, except for that of his party.

The account is active on a daily basis, publishing links to Hamzawy's columns. 

Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh
Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh

5. Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh - @DrAbolfotoh  

Number of followers: 1.79 million

Follows: 1 account

Number of tweets: 2,928

Abul-Fotouh, a prominent Islamist politician and former Muslim Brotherhood member, joined Twitter in April 2011.

The Twitter account of the former presidential candidate mainly tweets his statements in Arabic and his political comments on local and regional affairs.  

The tweets of the founder of the Strong Egypt Party are often retweeted hundreds of times, as for instance his tweet about Mohamed Morsi's trial on 4 November 2013.  

Although he supported the 2013 protests against Morsi’s presidency and the call for early presidential elections, Abul-Fotouh was against his ouster, as well as his trial.

المصريون الشرفاء ومنهم القضاة يبرؤن من المحاكمة الهزلية لأول رئيس منتخب ويلعنون كل من يشارك فى إهانة إرادة المصريين

عبدالمنعم أبو الفتوح(@DrAbolfotoh) November 4, 2013

"The honourable Egyptians including the judges are innocent from that farcical trial of the first elected Egyptian president and they curse everyone participating in this insult to the will of Egyptians."  

Abul-Fotouh's most recent tweet was published on 23 December 2014 and was a comment on the Tunisian presidential elections results.  

اهنىء الشعب التونسي ببناء موءسساته بالطريق الديمقراطي السلمى.تحيةللصديق الراشد الغنوشى تحيةللصديق الطبيب المرزوقي. تهنئة للسبسى خادما لوطنه،

عبدالمنعم أبو الفتوح(@DrAbolfotoh) December 23, 2014

"I congratulate the Tunisians on building their state institutions through the peaceful democratic path. A salute to my friend Rashed El-Ghanoushi, to my good friend Al-Marzouqi. Congratulations to Essebsi, a servant to his nation."  

Naguib Sawiris
Naguib Sawiris

6. Naguib Sawiris - @NaguibSawiris  

Number of followers: More than 1.71 million

Following: 122 accounts

Number of tweets: 4,984

Joining Twitter in July 2010, the famous telecommunications mogul and founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party tweets on a daily basis, giving his opinions freely on a variety of topics.

Sawiris follows 150 accounts, including news websites, celebrities, as well as some non-celebrity users who he sometimes engages with.

Sometimes the billionaire’s tweets can land him in hot water, as in June 2011 when he posted a cartoon of Mickey Mouse wearing a jilbab and sporting an “Islamist” beard and Minnie Mouse wearing a niqab face veil.

Wael Ghonim
Wael Ghonim

7. Wael Ghoneim - @Ghonim

Number of followers: More 1.41 million 

Following: 1,063 accounts  

Number of tweets: 7,800

Ghoneim, a prominent youth activist and revolutionary, joined Twitter in 2009. Ghoneim played a role in the 2011 revolution as the co-founder of a Facebook page condemning the death of Khaled Said, who was killed by police. Ghoneim has remained prominent in Egypt and like other well-known youth activists has regularly faced criticism and accusations of treason from conservative media figures.

He recently announced that he would be leaving his job at Google to found a startup in social media and news with other two partners. 

Ghoneim has tweeted little since 3 July 2013, the date of Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. He is currently residing in the US.                                            

His tweet on 3 July 2013 in support of Morsi's ouster was retweeted more than a thousand times. 

وعدت فأخلفت وأقصيت وفشلت وفرّقت فرحلت .. ربنا يحفظ مصر وشعبها ويكتب لينا نشوفها زي ما بنحلم بيها!

— Wael Ghoneim (@Ghonim) July 3, 2013

"You (Morsi) promised and broke your promise, you excluded and failed, you divided us and now you leave. God bless Egypt and its people. May God let us see Egypt as we dream it can be." 

Ayman Nour
Ayman Nour

8. Ayman Nour - @AymanNour  

Number of followers: More than 1.4 million

Following: 16.9 thousand

Number of tweets: 6,086

Nour, an opposition figure who ran against Hosni Mubarak in the presidential elections of 2005, is very active on Twitter.

The founder of the liberal Ghad El-Thawra party tweets his official statements, suggestions and thoughts on Twitter on a regular basis.  

Currently residing in Lebanon, Nour, who still supports Mohamed Morsi, follows over 16,000 accounts, from journalists to political figures to ordinary people.  

Nour has recently created a controversy when he tweeted a proposal for a “national charter” to overcome polarisation and division among Egypt's revolutionary political parties and powers. He also called for people to send him suggestions via email or Twitter on what should be included in this charter.

Gameela Ismail
Gameela Ismail

9. Gameela Ismail - @GameelaIsmail

Number of followers: More than 1.26 million  

Following: 683 accounts  

Number of tweets: 10.1 thousand

Ismail, a former MP, leading figure within the Constitution Party, and the only woman ever to stand in an Egyptian presidential election, joined Twitter in January 2010, and is the only woman in our top ten most followed list.

Tweeting in Arabic and English, Ismail is active on Twitter, commenting on political and social issues, her activities, and publishing her official statements.

Ismail follows over 600 accounts, mostly activists and journalists in Egypt.  

Her most recent tweet was an old photo of her with her sons Shady and Nour. 

Coming closer to the end of #2014 , this 22-year-old picture..” #2014 #egypt #women

— Gameela Ismail (@GameelaIsmail) December 23, 2014

Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa

10. Amr Moussa - @AmreMoussa  

Number of followers: More than 1.2 million

Following:  28 accounts  

Number of tweets: 2,460

Moussa, a former foreign minister under Hosni Mubarak and presidential candidate in the elections after his ouster, joined Twitter in February 2011. He uses his Twitter account to publish his official statements and activities.

Moussa follows only 28 accounts on Twitter, mostly from Egyptian and international newspapers and news websites.

During his presidential campaign in 2012, the account was active, attracting thousands of retweets from supporters. These days, his posts get dozens of retweets.  

In a recent tweet, the former secretary-general of the Arab League congratulated Tunisians on their presidential elections results, in a series of tweets praising the electoral process there.

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