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Like 'Obameter,' the 'Morsi Meter' tracks Egyptian president's promises

By Josh Levs, CNN
updated 11:06 AM EDT, Tue June 26, 2012
An activist website will track the campaign promises made by Egypt's president-elect, Mohamed Morsi
An activist website will track the campaign promises made by Egypt's president-elect, Mohamed Morsi
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Morsi Meter is modeled after the Obameter from PolitiFact.com
  • It currently lists 64 promises
  • The group behind it wants "a new era of accountability," a member says
  • The Obameter says President Obama has so far kept about a third of his promises

(CNN) -- Inspired by a U.S. fact-checking website, a group of Egyptian activists has created the Morsi Meter, aimed at holding the new Egyptian president to his promises.

It's "an attempt to document and monitor the performance of Egyptian President-elect Mohamed Morsi" over his first 100 days, the Morsi Meter website says.

Much like the Obameter from PolitiFact.com, which tracks U.S. President Barack Obama's promises, the Morsi Meter lists numerous promises Morsi allegedly made while campaigning for the presidency, including offering incentives and promotions for police who restore security in their areas, new penalties for smuggling fuel, and changes on the streets to improve traffic.

It's a project of Zabatak, a non-profit group that says its goal is to fight crime and corruption.

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Amr Sobhy, a 24-year-old organizer with the group, told CNN the idea for the Morsi Meter sprang from a conversation he had with another young activist. "We decided to follow U.S.-like initiatives of monitoring the promises of politicians after the naming of the president," and one member of Zabatak began to write down Morsi's campaign vows, Sobhy said.

"We are a group of Egyptians who don't belong to any political ideology and, for the record, we are not by any means political activists," he said.

"We are average Egyptian youths who want to use whatever they do best to bring about change in Egypt."

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Sobhy said he voted for Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, over Ahmed Shafik, who served as the final prime minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. It was "a choice between revolution and reproducing the past regime."

The group has not heard of any reaction from Morsi to the website.

Unlike the U.S. presidency, Egypt's presidency is largely a figurehead position -- particularly after the military junta running Egypt recently claimed full legislative and budgetary authority and said the president has no control over the military.

Sobhy said that while it's unclear how much power the president will have, he hopes Morsi fulfills promises through selecting "a good government" and gaining public support.

"What matters to me here is how much support we are gaining, unexpectedly," for the Morsi Meter, he said. He believes it will help change how candidates look at the electorate.

Sobhy said he got the Morsi Meter online before leaving for a conference in Bonn, Germany.

Zabatak hopes to change the "mindset" in Egypt and get more people to be "more positive and involved," he said.

"We want to bring Egypt to a new era of accountability, open government and citizen involvement," Sobhy explained.

The site is not about "criticism or advocacy," he added. "It's a portal of data. People can use it later, as much as they like, to form whatever opinions they want to hold."

The site currently lists 64 promises.

Sobhy says the group will soon launch an official English version.

The Obameter, from Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com, currently lists about 500 promises Obama made while campaigning for the presidency. It says he has kept 37%, broken 14%, and compromised on another 12%.

"I know of similar efforts we've inspired in France, Poland and Afghanistan," PolitiFact Editor Bill Adair said Tuesday.

"We're thrilled that journalists around the world are adopting the approach of our Obameter. It's a new form of journalism that holds public officials accountable for their campaign promises. It shows the power of the Web and the value of accountability journalism."

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